This Blog has been informed of an unfortunate situation for a church and its organ purchase.  About three years ago a California church contracted with a West Coast Hauptwerk assembler, Martin Digital Organs, to purchase an organ based on PC tone generation technology.  The instrument was never delivered, the definition of a virtual organ.  The church suffered a significant loss of funds.

Purchasing an instrument from a small organ assembler is risky.  While the builder’s concerns should be for instrument reliability and long-term support, these undercapitalized companies instead often use funds collected for one customer to pay other bills.  This type of financing typically ends badly for customers.

While the church in this Case Study never received the organ, the builder delivered the instrument’s speaker cabinets, pictured below.  The outrageously low quality demonstrated in these photographs speaks for itself.

It is difficult to understand why a church would risk purchasing an organ that is supposed to last for decades from a garage-type organization.  Often this is the result of a personality at the church pushing an agenda not be in the best interest of the congregation.  Possibly this Case Study will help churches avoid this kind of tragedy in the future.

4 thoughts on “A Case Study: “Virtual Organ” Never Shows Up

  1. Similar story here in Manila. The so called organ installed and worked 2x and died. They call us as installer wont come and fix. Most awful constuction. They out p125,000 which is about $3500 but a lot of money for poor Catholic church

    1. That is really sad! What is even more sad is you have guys out there pushing this “virtual organ” stuff,claiming it sounds better than ANY Allen organ(or any other digital organ for that matter) you will ever hear,…but reading this tells another story,and why I won’t ever go with anything like this! NO church should ever allow themselves to be talked into this “virtual organ” garbage!

  2. How sad! This is why I WILL NOT have Hauptwerk,…very low quality,and very questionable reliability! And who’s to know if I would ever receive my instrument? I’ll play it smart and stick with Allen!

  3. ORGAN-EDITOR,…what has the church done in the meantime? Are they going to replace with an Allen,or have they already done so?

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