Voicing the Rodgers 340 Theater Organ

My first attempt to voice the organ with help from a friend

With most of the organ now restored and in playable condition, it’s time to start learning about voicing the organ. I understand that this is a process involves many variables, including the organ, the amplifier levels the speaker placement, listener placement and the room acoustics and probably a few more I have yet to learn about.

My initial goal is simply to do a first pass, both to become familiar the process, as outlined in the Rodgers 340 Service Manual, and to begin to hear what this organ is capable of. First, a quick video…

My friend, Edward Torres, from Old Town Music Hall, offered to help with the voicing so we made a day of it. In preparation, I went through and labelled the pots and racks on the organ to make it easy to find things. When Edward arrived, we regulated the organ according to the steps in the service manual. We then tweaked levels to please our own ears. Then, after a few adjustments, we repeated the process. I understand that it’s not uncommon to repeat this process many times until it sounds right. Since I am not yet done messing with speakers, etc. I know I will be doing this again, soon.

The process is not too difficult, but it does require two people – one at the keyboard (Edward) and one behind the organ (me) to make adjustments. I would not be surprised if professionals have a third person to walk to the room to hear how it sounds at various locations.

Since I do not yet play the organ, I asked Edward to play a few pieces so that I could walk around the room and hear it. He did and allowed me to share these recordings on my blog.

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2 thoughts on “Voicing the Rodgers 340 Theater Organ

  1. Very Nice. I love the old 340. I had one someone had butchered (improved upon until it didn’t play) that I used to run a pipe organ in my house for years. Can’t remember the serial #.
    The pipe organ went back to the original theatre and the console now plays running more pipes at Dr. Douglas’ Organ House in Houston.
    Nothing at all wrong with a 340. Sounds great.

    • Thanks for your comment, Jerry. This is new for me and I am having fun learning and meeting interesting people along the way. I am also enjoying learning more about the history of this instrument. As you can see, I am tracking a map of the 340s I am aware of. Please share this blog with others you know who may want to share information and tips. If you know the locations of existing 340’s let me know and I will add them to the map! Eric