Rarely has the dichotomy between traditional values and technological progress been so marked as in our modern era. Regardless of whether these differences are resolved in harmony or conflict, they provide a fundamental stimulus for human evolution.
The pipe organ is a perfect embodiment of the contrast between tradition and technology.

No other musical instrument is so closely linked to its thousand years of history and rich panorama of religious, cultural and artistic significance; but no other musical instrument has such a complex technological content, the organ being by very definition ‘a machine for making music’. The art of electronics engineering has addressed the second part of this apparent paradox in an attempt to create an instrument that would complement the many virtues of the conventional pipe organ. At the outset, the aim was to overcome such obvious drawbacks as high purchase and installation costs, difficulty of maintenance and frequent deterioration of tuning. The advent of digital sampling techniques, however, has enabled virtually perfect fidelity of tone quality to be achieved, combined with the possibility of modifying the various parameters of the sounds produced in an increasingly sophisticated manner.
AHLBORN has developed its expertise in the field of electronic organs with constancy and dedication, firmly basing its advanced technological research on the fine examples provided by the traditional craft of organ building.

AHLBORN Classic Organs: a brief history

AHLBORN first entered the field of classical organs towards the end of the 1970's, after having acquired a solid experience in the construction of a variety of musical instruments that had met with success in many different countries. For this ambitious project, it was felt that a completely new division of the company was necessary, staffed by technical and musical experts with a thorough knowledge of the world of classical organs. The objective was to create instruments with a rational but comprehensive range of features, superior tone production and practical operating commands, presented in simple but attractive cabinets that would grace any surroundings. Obviously, these aims were to be compatible with the essential characteristics of high quality allied with limited cost that would justify the choice of such instruments when the installation of a pipe organ was impossible.
The positive results obtained with these early instruments encouraged AHLBORN to be continue in this new direction, placing particular emphasis on research and development.

At this stage, the principal target to be achieved was a substantial improvement of the sound quality of the various stops, and one of the most important aspects examined was that of the correct rate of attack for every single note. As the analogue technology used previously was insufficient to allow these advances to be made without drastic increases of costs that would produce only limited results, a new digital alternative called SWP (Sound Wave Processing) was developed. With this technique, high-fidelity recordings are made of the authentic sounds of organ pipes. These are then analysed in fine detail, right from the start of the note to the moment in which it reaches its steady tone. This swift but nevertheless noticeable passage from silence to sound is one of the essential factors that give the different stops of an organ their distinctive tone colour.

Over the years, AHLBORN has collected a vast library of organ sounds from the very best instruments available in Europe and America, including recently installed models as well as older ones. Although the compilation of this sound library has been a complex process, it enables the AHLBORN technical and musical staff to continually refine their expertise, working only with top-quality sound samples of absolute aesthetic prestige. The practical results obtained have been excellent, recognized by internationally famous organists and music critics.

Any pipe organ, large or small, is a unique instrument painstakingly tailored to suit its particular location and performance requirements. AHLBORN based the philosophy of its next generation of instruments on this fundamental premise, allowing electronic digital organs, which by their very nature are manufactured with mass-production techniques, to be adapted by players and installation technicians to their specific settings.

Starting from those considerations, AHLBORN, through an exclusive INTERACTIVE PROGRAMMER™, has allowed the customer and the installer to carry out the complete "organ voicing" of each stop in order to better fit the sound of the instrument to the musical requirements and to the acoustic of the environment.
This wireless control, enriched with numerous and sophisticated technical performances, still remains the most distinguished and exclusive feature of our instruments.

Thanks to the always more faithful quality of its organ stops, AHLBORN also works on major organ installations, often linked to pipe organ. Earning like that, during the years, a great international fame, AHLBORN created special models, aesthetically and functionally personalised, to answer to a wide variety of customer requests.

The new ORGANUM and PRAELUDIUM Series represent a prestigious benchmark in the field of classic organ, with their innovative features and the numerous functions allowed by the technology called ‘High Definition Pipe Organ Sound™’.

The results of AHLBORN researches has ended to the exclusive DRAKE™ processor (Dsp, Risc, Advanced Keyboard Engine) an industry leading initiative and a major leap forward in organ design that gives to the sound a fidelity, naturalness and vitality never reached before, and concurs the maximum flexibility and refinement in the numerous functions and controls of the instruments.

AHLBORN ‘High Definition Pipe Organ Sound™’ introduces and systematically applies in its instruments the concept of ALTERNATE STOP. In order to understand the meaning and the importance of such innovation, it is necessary to remember that a pipe organ, of any dimension, is usually structured on a fix stops disposition, and each one of these stops has a specific and immutable timbre. AHLBORN intention is to override such situation, let us say static and close, in order to offer to the organist a qualified choice of "variations" to the single stops. They can easily be recalled in substitution of the main stops which they refer to. These stops, completely new, have been chosen not only to create variety of sound, but also to serve properly the aesthetic and historical requirements of the vast organ music repertoire performance. An examination of the complete dispositions of each models will clear more than any comment the logical conception and the extraordinary vastness of resources offered from the new AHLBORN organs generation.

Further to those Alternate Stops, some ADDITIONAL STOPS of exceptional sound quality are available, indifferently assignable to each division of the organ. We'll find: high pressure Reeds (Chamade, Tuba Mirabilis, etc), typical effects (Tubular Bells, Zimbelstern etc.) and accompaniment instruments (Harpsichord and Piano) useful for particular performance requirements. Some organ's configurations of various style and character are offered also as Preset.

Another outstanding innovative element is the DYNAMIC TOUCH of the keyboards (Tracker Touch) that allows the most refined player to obtain great flexibility and sensitivity of touch, according to what happens on the pipe organs with tracker action.

Hundreds of COMBINATIONS are available for the maximum performance flexibility.

The instruments have a double control of programmability: by PROGRAMMING SECTION™ (incorporated in the front panel of the console with an alphanumeric display) and by INTERACTIVE PROGRAMMER™ (a wireless control useful also for the environment installations). Such devices supply various controls and voicing functions.

The Built-In Multi-Track SEQUENCER and FLOPPY DISK DRIVE (3.5" HD), offer to the organist an amount of resources both in studying and in soloist and liturgical practicing.

The beauty and sound versatility without comparisons of the AHLBORN ‘High Definition Pipe Organ Sound™’, join to the functionality and the elegance of their aesthetic lines, represent one exceptional synthesis between the values of the great organ building tradition and the technological innovation of our time.