Noel's Blog 

Think back to the olden days….

When people would hang bedsheets on the wall and project movies on them.

The range at which the focus would be right was critical.  If the screen tilted away from bneing straght up and down, the picture would be fuzzy, unfocused.

I bring this up only because oece again I have been faced with a situation in which one of these organs was on display with the speakers sitting on top of it.

Seriously, friends, if you do not want to show off how great these organs are, go ahead and leave the little speakers lying on top of the organ.  But if you want people to really hear what it can do, you need to understand, appreciate and be able to explain what is going on here.

When the organist is sitting at the bench, the speakers underneath the organ are sending our aural pictures of sound, the bottom half ot eh Mon Lisa, for example.  Then when the two satellite speakers are up high in front of the organist they fill in the top half of the entire painting.

The satellite volume control permits you to adjust exactly how the sheet of sound reaches the years of the organist and those behind the organist who hear the organ.  This little volume control is what you use to focus the plane of the sound.

6 Feet or higher.  Otherwise you might just as well dig a 6' deep hole….and jump in, because no one buys an organ because of something an organ salesman says….it's because of how the organ sounds, often in spite of a salesman's ravings!

Before you try out a C-330.

I know that before I wrote to tell you to call the dealer and make sure that there will be someone there to demonstrate the organ to you, someone who could explain the instrument and what it can do.

Last week I had the opportunity to demonstrate a C-330 for a factory representative who was rather surprised by something that I did.  We'd moved the C-330 up against an old upright piano.  The little speakers were on top the organ, facing the organist.  The rep mentioned that they are better facing up and we tried that.

But then…

I moved the two little speakers up on top of the upright piano, facing the organist.

HUGE difference.  As you can see, the engineers in Japan gave a recommendation that too many poeple have totally ignored.  This instrument is designed to place a sound field around the organist using these speakers up in the air and the speakers under the keyboards.  Installed this way, it could even serve a chapel or church….

So, today's suggestion is that before you go to try out a C-330, make sure that there is someone there who can explain the organ to you and that the satellite speakers are placed up in the air facing the organist the way it shows in the owner's manual.

You will be doing the dealer a favor….when these speakers are up where they belong, it's an exciting organ to play.

I have to add that not having the stereo cable draped across the living room sort of eased the situation here…very small house….

Posting again…

I've been working with the Roland C-30 harpsichord, creating a presentation on playing the harpsichord and exploring the French and Flemish harpsichords, both with 8, 8, 4, and Lute stops.  These instruments are based on samples of historic instruments at the famed music instrument museum at Hamamatsu Jaoan.  It also has an organ flute, principals 8', 4', a fortepiano and celesta.

At the same time I have been spending time on the phone and the internet with a churcvh that has purchased a C-200 organ keyboard, which is playing through their digital organ (not a Rodgers) and using the speaker system to very impressive results.

And finally, I've been immersed in playing and writing about the C-330.  When I got it here I ran a set of cables to play it through the Bose system I've put together for this purpose.  I can tell you that it was a surprise to find that I did not need to use that system.  Next message should explain that.

USB Drives

The Dark Walnut Roland C-330 drive is mounted under the keyed on the right about your knees.  I was using a USB drive that opens and closes by sliding to protect the contacts and had a bit of trouble getting the thumb drive inserted, so the advice to use Roland USB drives is not a bad one.

Unsolicited Comment

Former Steinway dealer walks into store, sees C-330 and says, "Now that'll sell!"

"We have NEVER heard a sound like this…"

Roland C-330

Today one of these organs was loaned to a university that has for the last 7 years rented organs from the builder of their last organ, not a Rodgers, which failed during commencement.

The organ sounded good and then we plugged it into the house system, simple stereo left right setup through  the system from the Audio Out plugs.

Sound guy cranked up his system and...

"We have NEVER heard a sound like that in this room before..."

After 7 years of hearing various organs by a company that wanted to sell a new organ to the school, 5 minutes with a the smallest of the Roland/Rodgers line changes their mind.

Incredible organ.

The Built-in Metronome

Really, I had no idea there was a metronome built-in for practicing!  Slow practice is becoming more and more important to me as I work to get some organ works back under my fingers and everything happening as it should.  I have found myself fumbling through left hand parts in Bach pieces but slowing it down and paying close attention to those lines makes it possible to play them up to speed once again....I hope.

Practicing after hours

The Rodgers 500 Series Organs headphone jack is in the same place as the Roland 380.

Plug the headphones in (using a 1/4" plug - or 1/4" plug adapter) for quiet practicing.

Ever have a problem with the organ not playing?  Sometimes it's just because someone left the headphones plugged in!

But if you have any organ with dead audio, use a set of headphones to see if it plays through them - this information is very useful to technicians!

Do they just using filtering?

People have talked to me, saying that they were playing an organ and switched to a French set of stops and then an English set and though that the sounds they were hearing were all the same sounds with audio filtering used to make them sound different.  I thought that this seemed strange until I played an instrument, there to quote to rebuild an antiphonal that had been left when the new digital organ console was added to the main pipe organ.  Without naming the builder, I can tell you that I too thought there were just filters used on the same stop set to make it sound different when I pulled the French Organ knob.

Rodgers has used independent samples for all of its digital work and these new small organs prove it.  Each of teh stops has three additional independent stops available behind it at all times.

It's as if a pipe organ has been built and combined with a bowling pin setter machine.  You select a stop and it plays. You select a stop behind the named stop and this pipe setter lifts all the pipes out of the rack, stores them away and puts a new, different set of pipes in that rack.

So on the 330 SW with nine stops and each one with 4 stops that it can play how many different registrations are there?  The math escapes me!  With 36 independent stops that may be played in combinations between the 4 rows of's a lot.

And when playing these stops they are all different in tone, character and loudness, so it's not like playing 4 of the same stops. but rather hearing four different pipe sounds that each blends differently with other pipe sounds in its own way.

While Rodgers people may be used to this, others may be more familiar with systems in which each set of stops is only available with the other ones in its family, not permitting the free mix and match that Rodgers offers.

But this is only leading up to the next step in these organs, the MIDI stops, two for each division.

Pictures of C-330 Organs

Many pictures of Roland Classic Organs on Google:

Link to Pics

© noel jones 2013 • Roland Group & Rodgers Instruments are trademarks and used with permission.