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Magnus Chord Organ

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A dusty old 1970′s reed organ with loads of character.

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A 1970′s reed organ dug up from the archives.

   DATA POINTS:

Classification:  Melodic Reed Organ
Specimen Samples: 48kHz, 16 bit
Sample pool depth:  3 octaves, 12 chord buttons
Format:  Kontakt 3.5+
Known contradictions: Epic name, small instrument

   OVERVIEW:

This 1970′s reed organ has a great character. Part harmonium, part harmonica, part electric pump organ, and featuring chord buttons as well as single keys, we found and recorded this classic in a Connecticut basement. Enjoy the “Purist” patch for the true recreation, or dive into the mutation patches for a wider variety of expressive, percussive, and processed versions.

   PATCHES:

  • Magnus Chord Organ – Purist :  This is the original, raw, library.  No extra bells and whistles or performance additions, really.  This is how 1970′s New Jersey wanted you to hear the Magnus.  Includes chromatic sampling of the melodic keys, and the lower octaves will play the 24 maj/min chords.  Noise sample of the operating fan is sustained from B-1.
  • Accordionic: Some subtle changes from the Purist patch, this instrument more closely emulates an accordion.  Mod Wheel controlled dynamics, subtle EQ shifts, and a bit of volume envelope can yield a convincing copy.  The character-filled clunky key release samples can be turned off for a more pure sound.
  • Accordionic – RR : The same design as Accodionic, only with a simulated round robin, created by extending the chromatically sampled keys out to neighboring tones.  If you are doing lots of repetitions, this may be a good alternate choice.
  • Accordionic – Breath Controller :  Accordionic, but pre-programmed for breath controllers.  Select your Breath CC source (defaults to 2), and play away.  Turned off Chords yields an extended low range.
  • Bassadore 64 :  Divergent genetic mutation.  Retro synth bass.  Have fun with the mod wheel as well.
  • MagSmack Kit:  Another distant mutation.  This electro-perc kit would be 10 years in the future from the Magnus, or 30 years back in our past.
  • Flagolets de Magnus:  Sustain patch that has some qualities of string harmonics.  3x round robin.  Adjust the front panel ADSR for more variations.

 

SPECIFICATIONS:


All patches require the full version of Kontakt 3.5 or higher. Total download = 31MB

Free to use and distribute.  These samples may be used in any commercial and non-commercial works without restriction or fees of any kind.  Please distribute the samples and patches to any and all potential subject pools, but do not resell the sounds as part of another sample library.

DETAILED EXPERIMENT LOG:

When a crate arrived at the Lab with only some obscure indication that it arrived from the “Organ Archive”, we were very excited to open it up and see what kind of biological oddities might come from such a place that would archive organs.  Elephant lungs, rhino kidneys, and a Yeti liver were all high on the list.  Imagine our surprise then as we found the contents to be a single, authentic, Magnus Chord Organ from presumably the 1970s.

The audio genetic phylum of this instrument bears a close resemblance to the harmonium, accordion, and harmonica, in that it is a free-reed aerophone, with sound produced by the movement of air across a set of reeds.  While the harmonium and accordion require manual operation of bellows, and the harmonica is a purely pulmonic creature, the air in the Magnus is driven by an electric fan.  In our collection, we have made a recording of just this fan playable as a sample if you want to really go for authenticity.

This Magnus spanned 3 octaves, with beautifully clunky old keys (though these clunky releases can be controlled separately or bypassed in the instrument patches).  Twelve major and minor chords were button-playable by the left hand.  For our research purposes, these chords have been extended to play all twenty-four major and minor triads.

Our research has yielded a mini-library of sounds that are being made available for free to the public.  The patches present the original, pure, Magnus sound as well as a number of variations (some subtle, others not), including a retro synth bass, a string-harmonics type sustained patch, and an accordion-like mutation that adds mod wheel dynamic control, aftertouch vibrato, and dynamic EQ.

For those subjects who own and play a breath controller such as the Akai EWI or EVI, or the Yamaha WX series, there is a patch pre-programmed for breath controller use.  Use the front panel to assign the breath CC generated by your device, and play away.  With the “Chords” button turned off, an extra performance low range is added where the chord triggers once were.

 

Magnus chord organ screenshot

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Reviews

  1. Elsa Choca

    :

    me regalaron un Magnun Chord Organ Model 391. Tengo que hacer funcionar la parte eléctrica. Uds. me pueden decir como van conectados los cables y tengo que cambiar el transformador . ¿que voltaje compro? Muchas gracias

    • Audio Genetics

      :

      With my rough translation, I don’t know that I can help with the wiring of your actual organ. That is great that you have one to play in person! My sampling session was a treat when I was staying with someone. My recommendation would be to try and find a repair shop in your area who might be able to give you some guidance. You may also be able to find the repair manual online. I found this in a quick search: http://www.dbeconline.com/magrepair-1.htm

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