I started this page with a view to putting this system under the 'for sale' category here. My thoughts have however evolved into something a bit deeper; that of digital technology, when to use it and when not to use it. Those that know me will know I have done a few hybrid schemes in the past. I know there are some that object to the notion, and on principle I agree. However, to my mind there is sometimes a place for digital.

I believe hire is one of these circumstances; so often a couple books a church for a wedding based perhaps on the opportunities for photos, or maybe proximity to a hotel.......and then find the organ is either sub-standard or doesn't exist. Then there was the occasion I have had a Welsh male voice choir hire this organ for their concert at a venue that contained no organ at all....or other situations where the in-house organ is in the wrong place (eg a gallery location, but where accompaniment is required elsewhere)......etc.....

I'm a pipe organbuilder and have been for 37 years now, so perhaps I should have nothing to do with digital at all? It is a plain fact that digital organs are being sold. Meanwhile, as an organist I have so many times been expected to perform on a cheap, inadequate and unmusical instrument. I would therefore contend that a good digital organ is far preferable to either a bad pipe or digital organ, and in Ireland plenty of these latter categories exist. It is for this reason I am happy to get involved at the high-end quality-wise, perhaps especially when technical difficulties require bespoke solutions.

This organ was originally built, assembled and fitted for Maynooth College Gunn Chapel for use between summer 2011 and summer 2013. It was relieved of its duties once Ruffatti fitted the new pipe organ in summer 2013. (I now maintain this for them, as well as Longford Cathedral and soon to be Cobh.)

It was no easy task. We were required to make a system specific to the specification of the Maynooth console, and have it fitted and usable within 2 weeks. That's a big ask, and so my friends in Musicom came to the rescue. Their excellent electrical engineering skills and musical knowledge came to the fore, so thank you Doug and Howard.

The voicing is by Dr. Graham Blyth, well known and most respected in the audio world. He built two small reed stops and a Cymbel II on the Positive organ in place of two stops that were less than useful in the pipe organ spec.. He did this from scratch at a whim on site without a 2nd thought; amazing to witness.

So....the purpose of the organ changed from a semi-permanent thing to a mobile situation, and again Doug and Howard kindly facilitated this. This high-quality system is now currently played from a mobile 2-manual console (the Positive is treated as a floating division, playable from either Swell, Great or Pedal) and can be heard in a church in Dublin at the moment (Nov 2017 on), as it's on medium-term hire.

On board is a simple user-friendly stepper system that will navigate through general pistons. I put the read-out right in the middle so it's easy to see and use. There's a lot to manage, more than usual thanks to the floating Positive. So I usually advise basic general piston settings be used, then all one has to worry about is the memory level and last piston pressed numbers, which are in different colours for clarity.

Also on board is a transposer and MIDI compatibility. Pitch is locked at 440Hz, but I can adjust it internally as required.

And, it has the most lovely tremulants (hear the 2nd track below).

The stool, not shown, like everything else is light. There are 4 height adjustments.

General dimensions are near the agreed ISOB (International Society of Organ Builders) norms. The main difference is my console is a little lower for compactness reasons.

As stated, it's built to be portable, with wheels on as many things as possible, and the console as light as possible, weighing just 40kg. This fares favourably when compared to the 130kg+ of an 'ordinary' console. As such it makes this organ quite versatile indeed, making it possible to lift over a gallery rail for instance. (More often than not the stairs leading up to a gallery would make that route impossible.)

I started with the keyboards, sourced from David Jeffers: http://www.jeffersmusic.ie/  They are exceptionally light in weight. This was followed by Musicom illuminated tabs and a fold-able Laukhuff pedalboard: the core ingredients sourced with lightness and portability in mind.


Basically it consists of 8 components: console, pedalboard, stool, one trolley of electrical equipment, 2 sets of Tannoy speakers (8 in total) and 2 sub-woofers. The subs can be wired in mono (if space is at a premium) at little cost to quality.

The two sets of Tannoy speakers are best located some distance apart and preferably directed to somewhere bounce will occur to create good spread of sound.....(sound behaves differently to light - it's more sporadic and so this way we achieve an intrinsic sense of reality). I don't just point them directly at the listener. This is usually easy to arrange.

As you can imagine from the photo, power is not an issue. This set-up has amply filled any space I have tried to date. In Maynooth for instance the outputs were set to a relaxed 55%.....better that way, because never does it get near its own limitations. 55% is the highest level I have had to run this system at to date. 45% is typical for a comfortable but fulfilling result.

I feel this level of thought and attention to detail is worth it.

Connecting the console to the rest of the equipment is a small cable the diameter of a pencil. This cable can be run up to virtually any distance. I have 2 cables, I think one at 50' and the other at 150'.....they can of course be joined allowing the console to be operated as far away as 200' from the rest of the equipment.

Here's a photo of it under construction/testing, showing Musicom's useful diagnostic LEDs lighting inside as required:


And this is what's inside (rather a lot!):


The organ can be supplied with a new console, or can be piggy-backed onto virtually any other existing keyboards, depending on detail.

I'm now toying with making another, only this time with lightness and portability entered into the equation from conception.

Here's what it sounded like when residing in Maynooth College Gunn Chapel:

Apologies.......you can hear the clattering of the worn-out keyboards of the old organ in this track as the recorder was nearby.

There's another track on the homepage entitled Trumpet Minuet.