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Lowrey C500 Celebration
Blue Book says:
2 61-Key Manuals
25 Pedals w/Sustain
Reverb & sustain
GENIE Auto Rhythm/Accomp
6 Percussion Presets
MSR Price $ 22.638
A huge theatre-style organ. It is said, that Lowrey took all the best technology they had until then and mounted into this organ. Opening the back cover you will get a breath-taking view: two huge metal back planes, on both sides fully covered by circuit boards! This organ has so many cables, that Lowrey obviously decided not to use connectors, but wire-wrapping for secure connections between the printed circuit boards. This makes the connections more reliable, but harder to repair.
Inside views of the Celebration (photos are from Ed's dark C500 with his friendly permission)
When I got mine, a couple of things did not work. Most obvious were the capacitors of the main voltage board. Click here to read my repair reports I have posted to the Lowrey Forum. One of the forum members, Ed.K. even replaced rigorously all voicing filter capacitors/resistor
One of the twelve divider chips of the master generator stopped working, it is no longer in production and no replacement available! I found out that this chip can be replaced by a CD4024. The pins do not match and have to be rewired.
What is unique about this organ it its sound! Even if it has a tone generator based on divider technology, you will not hear a single rectangle wave ("cheap clarinet-") sound originating from the main dividers. It has both ample sine filters (two separate sine filters per octave) and electronic keyers which individually change the waveforms to either saw-tooth or time-varying pulse and wave shaping modulation (symphonizer section). Under some aspect it is a kind of a 61-note polyphonic synthesizer.
Strings section is superb! Three chorus units are integrated, for the strings, symphonizer and some other tabs.
The best sparkling bells I have heard on electronic organs. And the Diapason sounds like a dream. The only minus with this organ is the unweighted springy keyboard.
Here you can download the C500 4-pages sales brochure (in German).
Sound examples here.