The Nord C1, C2 and C2D Organ Forum

C2D as a Controller for Hauptwerk?

Postby old guy » 24 Mar 2014, 10:14

I have a mid-60's Allen 2 manual home theater console, gutted and ready to upgrade. I have MIDI'd the existing keyboards using the 'works' of two Acorn Instruments keyboard controllers and all seems to work fine. However with advancing age and declining health, we may need to move into more compact diggs and that huge organ console will likely get left behind.

If a Nord C2D were the 'engine', then I could just remove it from the Allen and set it up on a small folding table in the new location/situation. I'm working on a light-weight pedal set-up built largely from plastic water-pipe. This would make the downsizing easier knowing I wouldn't be losing my organ. And all along I would have a premium combo organ at my disposal.

Is this a good workable idea? Or is it a bad idea?
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C2D as a Controller for Hauptwerk?


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Re: C2D as a Controller for Hauptwerk?

Postby tacitus » 24 Mar 2014, 11:51

I don't know how you intend to use your C2D and/or your Hauptwerk system, but for what it's worth, I put my plans for Hauptwerk on hold when I got my C2D, and instead bought better speakers so I can enjoy the baroque organ in the C2D at its best.

The reasoning behind that move was that I got the C2D for its compactness (and the baroque organ) and adding too much on top of it seemed a bit of a backward step. Now admittedly my favourite organ music is of the baroque period, so I don't need the whole Willis/Cavaille-Coll shebang to play what I like best, but even so, I'm finding the C2D's organ acceptable for most types of repertoire. I did find that using the couplers more is a help in 19th century music, but once I'd got a reasonable sub and satellite speaker setup the enjoyment increased exponentially. I have decent headphones for quiet playing and that's pretty impressive, too.

Like you, I'm getting older and weaker, so whereas I started off thinking I'd buy a Hammond XK3c setup, the higher price and the added bulk and weight eventually decided me on the Nord. I'm so glad I did, too, because although I intended to play lots of Hammond and fiddle about a bit with the pipe organ, in fact it's turned out exactly the opposite. And keeping the whole rig small has been a good move - everything I need fits easily into the boot and back seat of my small estate car and no individual component is too heavy to get in and out of the car.

For me, then, having to add a computer to this setup won't give me any great improvement in playing pleasure or versatility for gigs. Of course, if you intend to have Hauptwerk purely so you can enjoy lots of different organs, that's another matter altogether.

And making pedal out of piping - isn't that going to be a drain on your resources? More seriously, I found some Italian pedalboards to AGO standards for not too much money - about 600 pounds sterling, IIRC. You'd have to finish the wood but ...

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Re: C2D as a Controller for Hauptwerk?

Postby old guy » 26 Mar 2014, 18:31

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I don't plan to get involved in playing gigs, so the installation might be considered permanent in the respect that I intend to leave it hooked up and ready to play in an instant. In fact that is one of the reasons that I haven't based it on a couple of standard controller keyboards hooked up to a lap top --- i.e. waiting for PC to boot up.

I actually have 2 pedalboards; one from the Allen and another from an old Baldwin model 5 that suffered a similar fate by my hand over 30 years ago. The problem with using one of them is their sheer size & weight.

The objective is reduced bulk & weight, but with high capabilities and realism, especially in the pipe organ section. I tend to believe the Nord keyboard action would be smooth yet robust, having plunked around on a used Nord digital piano for awhile at a Guitar Center. The only thing I noticed was that the Nord keys were 'noisy', loose as in an old piano with worn key bushings. Whether there's a convenient adjustment for this on the Nord, I don't know. Perhaps some felt judiciously placed might also be a fix.

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Re: C2D as a Controller for Hauptwerk?

Postby tacitus » 27 Mar 2014, 18:08

The C2D keys are as you imagine, and, yes, noisy as well. When mine goes out of warranty I'll open her up and see if a strip of felt in the right place will help to quieten the beast down a bit.

If it's a permanent install, I'm not sure why you're worrying about the weight of things. An AGO style pedal board would be best - I opted fro the Nord pedals because lots of baroque organs had straight pedalboards and we're not really into heel and toe territory with 18th-century organ music (and the fact that I'm having difficulty not falling off the bench when I play pedals is neither here nor there).

I'd be tempted to go for a custom console with three manuals, or at least the Nord C2D plus a third manual, as you'll need that for the best Hauptwerk instruments. Are you planning to use the PC screen for the stops or use the drawbars or what? I'm not well versed in Hauptwerk but I think both those options should work.

I guess we're looking at this from slightly different perspectives - I'm definitely using my Nord for gigging and it goes out in my car every week for rehearsals or gigs, so I need everything to be up to life on the road. I also tend to gig with my stage piano as well; the Nord is in fact part 2 of my keyboard strategy to give me all the major 'dinosaur' sounds - Piano, Rhodes, Harpsi, Hammond, Vox, pipe organ and so on in the smallest practicable setup. With the C2D and my Roland piano, I've got everything I need and it all goes in the car, including speakers, without using up the front passenger seat.

Anyway, it took me over ten years to add the C2D to my Roland, so I guess a few months spent planning wouldn't be wasted! Hope it all turns out well for you, and don't hesitate to bounce ideas off the forum - somebody could come up with your light-bulb moment yet.

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