An electronic organ can be designed for your church, to fit with its architectural setting. Loudspeakers of electronic instruments are much larger than loudspeakers used for speech. Loudspeakers should be positioned to musical as well as visual advantage, designed for the building, and not placed within an existing pipe organ.
Cost and reliability
Overall costs not only include first cost but also depend on reliability and longevity.
Except where the church is very small, the initial purchase cost of an electronic instrument will normally be considerably less than that of an adequate new pipe organ. On the other hand, the purchase costs of electronic instruments designed with their architectural location in mind will not be inexpensive.
With an electronic instrument the cost is largely determined by the type and quality of the basic equipment, the number of stops making relatively little difference. For this reason, consoles with stop-lists of cathedral proportions can found in churches of modest size. Such instruments suffer from severe problems of musical scale, each stop being a shadow of its proper self to avoid the 'full organ' sound being overbearing.
Whilst the manufacturers of current electronic instruments guarantee them for a number of years, experience indicates that an average of twenty years is a fair expectation. Sometimes it is possible to fit new components within the console of an electronic instrument.
Making a Choice
Any proposal for restoration or replacement of the organ should be discussed at an early stage with the Diocesan Advisory Committee, and its Organs Adviser. Follow the link for more information.
Be clear what weight you are putting on the musical, visual, liturgical and financial factors.
In conclusion, your choice will lie between:
1. The purchase and installation of a second-hand electronic instrument. Because of high depreciation, such instruments are available cheaply. Although tempting, this can be hazardous in terms of musical quality and of reliability.
2. The commissioning of a new electronic instrument, with console and loudspeakers designed to blend with the existing architecture and furnishings of the building. The stop list should match the scale of the building.
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