Modern digital electronics produces very realistic organ sound, and generator units can be successfully incorporated into a traditional wind-blown pipe organ to augment its tonal range or rectify various shortcomings.
Moreover digital stops can be voiced and regulated note-by-note so in recent years it has become perfectly practical to produce a hybrid rank, where some notes are produced by pipes and some by electronics, and where it is genuinely difficult to find the junction.
The Organ Workshop has worked on numerous hybrid pipe-electronic instruments, ranging from simple 2 or 3 stop extensions right up to complete three-manual instruments where we have provided a new console and a complete pipe control system.
Some years back we devised an automatic temperature-controlled tuning system to enable the digital sounds to continuously track variations in the pitch of the pipes.
Here’s a brief selection of photos to illustrate this work:
3-rank chamber organ enhanced with 16 digital stops and a piston action. Before and after