1. The sound comparison alone should be the major decision factor.
For example, many Allen competitors use "forced decays" (synthetic) and not sampled decays. Decays are important parts of real pipe organ sound, i.e. Attack, Steady-state, and decay, are all actual elements of a pipe’s speech.
Allen has taken great care with their patented system of sampling organ pipes and the reproduction of these elements to recreate true pipe organ sound.
2. Multiple stoplists.
One major competitor uses a system of random voices – or a “Mix-and-Match” approach. These are programmable through a series of piston controls. Unlike Allen's Stoplist Library, this “Mix-and-Match” approach does not produce complete specifications chosen and voiced to create cohesive ensembles. In addition, if voices are changed, some stops may not match the tone or pitch listed on the stop control. This is similar to blind capture.
Allen's Stoplist Library provides cohesive, properly designed, scaled, and voiced independent stoplists. These are based on samples taken from actual pipe organs from around the world representing the major eras of organ building throughout the ages. All pipe samples are from pipes built and voiced by world renowned builders - representing different schools of tonal philosophy. American Classic (EM Skinner and others), English Cathedral (Henry Willis), French Romantic (Cavaille-Coll), North German Baroque (Arp Schnitger), American Neo-Baroque (Hermann Schlicker), and American Classic (G. Donald Harrison-Aeolian/Skinner.)
3. Voice Exchange.
No other competitor offers voice exchange in the field (replace an entire voice [rank] to suit customer’s taste)
Through its exclusive Sound Matrix Library, Allen products have the ability to exchange the actual digital rank for another, via proprietary software called DOVES. No other digital organ builder offers this stoplist customization in the field.
4. Sampled Acoustics.
No other competitor provides sampled acoustics, but rather synthetically applied acoustics.
With Acoustic Portrait, only Allen offers sampled acoustics where the actual reverb characteristics of a particular room are sampled and then loaded into the organ’s software. The result is a stunningly realistic system that allows you to actually play in the room that you select, one being the famed Cathedral of St Denis in Paris.
5. General Quality.
We simply ask that you look inside competitive consoles, what you see will speak for itself. Allen consoles are built like fine furniture in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. They are extremely well made and reliable. Further Allen products are all Rohs compliant (lead free solder, EMI shielding, major components installed inside of metal cages, etc)
6. Reliability/Product Support.
Allen competitors use non-adjustable Fatar keyboards or similar, produced overseas. These are made of plastic with metal keysticks with rubber button dome switches. These will fail in a very short time (the switches are similar to what you find in cell phones and calculators.) Allen builds its premium keyboards in house. These have wooden keysticks with felted pivots and are fully adjustable. There is a reason why premium manufacturers of acoustic pianos and pipe organ consoles still use wooden keysticks for their instruments. They simply have a more solid feel to them and are extremely reliable over time.
Allen stock parts for every organ they have ever built – SINCE the 1940’s. How many other manufacturers of ANY other product can make this claim?
A year or so ago Allen surveyed its customer registered warranty records. These indicated the longevity of service that its products offer. The results showed that almost 95% of those customers that purchased new Allen organs in the past STILL own them, even including those with Vacuum Tube technology dating back to the 1940's and 1950's.
The percentage of older organs still in use today is at levels few manufacturers of any products can match - even many pipe organs. This type of product longevity does not occur by chance. It requires products to be designed properly, built with quality, and backed by a company that has the commitment and means to support products for the long haul, representing unparalleled product value for the customer. So, when you evaluate the cost of a new organ, one should calculate the cost per year and factor life expectancy. Even with early high maintenance systems that are still in use after 55+ years, you will find an Allen’s cost of ownership per year is lower than any other competitor.
7. Financial Strength.
Allen feels the purchase of an organ is a significant investment. Not only does it include a large expenditure, the instrument is expected to serve for many years. This longevity requirement is unique in today’s world of throw away digital products. For an organ to serve for the long term, it must be backed by a manufacturer with the desire and ability to support products long into the future. Allen has a proven track record supporting organs manufactured throughout its 70+ year history. Two proof statements that indicate this commitment are Allen’s extensive Parts Catalog and Service Manuals all accessible by factory authorized Allen representatives and technicians via Allen “back-door” support website only available for Allen representatives. Allen offers parts for even its earliest organs manufactured. It also supports customers with detailed Service Manuals required to service any high tech product.
Just as important, Allen’s strong financial position enables it to maintain this support. As an example, Allen has NO long term debt and maintains an inventory of service parts for older organs in excess of $1,000,000. The fact that Allen is managed by the same family that founded the company over 70 years ago indicates a commitment that has withstood the test of time.
Allen views its relationship with its customers similar to that of a partnership. In keeping with this philosophy, Allen supplies more than just the finest organs. It also supplies the backing of a company capable of keeping its commitments long into the future.