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philip77

MIDIfication of Yamaha E-3R

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Hello, MIDIboxians! I’m posting here a description and link to some photos http://picasaweb.google.com/buckslbpix/MIDIboxPost of my Virtual Organ project, for the inspiration and encouragement of others who may be contemplating a similar venture into the “unknown†using the splendid MIDIbox technology.

But first, I’d like to express my sincere thanks to Rick Whatson (aka “greenfoxâ€) for posting his project and photos on the Miditzer Forum at http://www.virtualorgan.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=433&KW=yamaha —his fully-operational virtual organ is practically identical to the one I was originally considering “diving†in to, and have since completed—and for his kind and generous replies to my questions early on in my project. Also, thanks to Jim Henry at Miditzer for intercepting my application question and steering me in the right direction—saving me hours of unnecessary, dead-end software modifications. And, lastly, many thanks to Mick Berg, a longtime friend and one of the original virtual organ pioneers, who reignited my interest in this marvelous technology, and who has been a steady inspiration throughout the journey of my project.

I rescued a Yamaha Electone E-3R, at no cost, from having been in storage, forgotten and collecting dust for way too many years. After gutting the console of its vintage 1970 analog electronics, I began ribbon-wiring the manual and pedal contacts to the MIDIbox DIN modules. There are 2 cores running the MIDIO128 application: one for the Swell and Great manuals; the other for the Pedals, pistons, toe studs, and misc. other switches. The rest is “historyâ€â€”fairly much following Rick’s approach (and invaluable advice) throughout its construction. I think the photos are self-explanatory—especially those with callouts describing the components and their functions.

The total cost of this project, which I embarked on about five months ago, is a little over US $3,400, including the “free†console :-)  I purchased almost all the computer components from NewEgg: a cheap case housing a Gigabyte motherboard, Intel Core 2 Duo 1.86 MHz CPU, 4GB RAM, 250GB SATA hard drive, Sony DVD/CD-RW drive, and M-Audio 2496 and Audigy 2ZS soundcards. The resistive touch screen monitor is a Planar 17â€, and I’m using a wireless keyboard & mouse. The 3-port MIDI/USB interface is a Roland Edirol UM-3—one port for each of the 2 MIDIbox cores. For listening I chose the AKG K-701 headphones, powered by a Samson 4-channel headphone amp.

I’m running Win XP Pro 32-bit OS, and planning on testing the potential performance improvement of the 64-bit version soon. The VO software I’m mainly using, and enjoying immensely, is Hauptwerk 2, with the Litomysl 4+1/51 sample set. Because my console is a 2-manual, and the Litomysl is a 4-manual instrument, I’m treating the Swell and Bombarde divisions as floating—the Litomysl ODF (organ definition file) assigns couplers to these divisions on either/both the Great and Positiv manuals on my console.

Enjoy the pix, and seriously consider “taking the virtual organ plunge†if you’re still on the fence—this technology really does work, reliably!—and is giving me “virtually†the same experience as playing the real thing. (I have access to a marvelous C. B. Fisk 2+1/36 tracker pipe organ, but my VO at home has been so alluring, and fulfilling, that I haven’t ventured out to the church to play the “real†organ for many weeks now.)

All the best,

Philip

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Nice work man!

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Thank you, stryd_one! I'm honored to receive a compliment from a MIDIbox Guru :-)

I've uploaded a simplified block diagram/schematic of the completed organ to the photo album, which gives a comprehensive "picture" of how everything's connected.

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You should be honoured by your work :) "guru" just means I talk too much hehehehe

Edit: Darn I can't even link to the image :( But that new diagram is excellent, thanks!

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Great job Philip.

I am glad I was able to be of some inspiration and assistance.  You have surged past my project which has gone on hold for a while.

We have decided we want to sell our house and most likely build a new home.  Getting ready to sell included getting our timber floors polished (you may have noticed the floor under my organ in the photos was bare unpolished floor boards).  My organ has had to move into storage under the house and all my 'spare' time is being spent on house renovations.

The good news out of all this will be that the new house will have a dedicated music room to house the organ, piano, keyboard and piano accordion.  I will be able to close the door and work or play to my hearts content without disturbing the rest of the family or being tripped over and having to pack up all my things after each splurge of activity.

I may need to ask you for some pointers when I get to setting up my expression pedal.  It is an interesting idea it looks like you have used the rhythm buttons as pistons.

Regards

Rick

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Hello, Rick,

Thank you for your reply.

I wish you a speedy transition to your new home, and realization of your new music room/sanctuary :)  In the meantime I hope you have access to another organ somewhere to tide you over and satisfy those creative musical cravings I think we all share.

I'd be delighted to share with you any of my construction experiences from my Yamaha project. (The rhythm switch was kind of fun converting to momentary/non-latching, independent operation--I just bent a tab on the latching bar to hold it open, and had to cut a lot of the PC board traces on the switch body; but it's a very reliable switching mechanism. And the debounce IC works great to stabilize the make/break of those aged piston microswitches--essential for reliable reversible or incremental combination changes.)

All the best,

Philip

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