Orla Grande Theatre … Best Value Organ!

Orla Grande Theatre … Best Value Organ!
Rating 4.8
Twinset Korg Pa900 Organ
Rating 4.4
These organs are about 5 years max old and going for a song on eBay at moment, they were about £11000 when they first came to the market now you can pick one up for as little as £1200 that almost a 200% depreciation a year, worse than a car! Get them quick on eBay privately or about twice that from a dealer.

The beauty of this organ is it’s ease of play there are 6 category buttons on the right which each contain 16 beautifully setup organ type registrations from big band to orchestral and there are even 44 Reg Rawlings theatre organ samples setup in the virtual pipes.

There is also a jubilee version which has a similar spec except it has USB instead of floppy and supplied with extra registioms on a usb stick it is going for about £1000 more but for best bang for buck go for the standard one.

When you consider they are top of the range organs with superb amplification there is probably nothing like them in this price range.

Buyers Tip

There has been some problems with a few units, the internal batteries not charging, this results in strange characters appearing on the display unit,it can be rectified quite easily the people to contact are MusicTraders.com who took over the Orla sales from Elmswell store.

What I particularly liked about this organ is the automatic setups, the good range of rhythms with good one touch settings, the rhythms are very adaptable instead of proving 100s there are just 96 each works well with many tunes. Also great are the colour coded conductor buttons, 3 for the top manual plus draw bars and 2 for bottom plus draw bars allowing mixing and matching of preset voices that are highly complementary. Another handy thing is orla doesn’t use a large touch screen, by doing this is it probably helped keep the price much lower than their atelier competitor, instead of a screen they use tons of coloured buttons corresponding in colour with the conductor so if you want to change the lower from strings and piano to a vocal scat it’s just one click away making playing ‘on the fly’ very easy.

Insider Info – try changing the reverb to ‘theatre’ and ramping up the enhancer for a bigger sound with surround effect, it can make quite a difference and few users realise you can add reverb to the rhythm and auto accompaniment too, play around and it can bring the already excellent voices even more alive.


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Twinset Korg Pa900 Organ

A ‘Twinset Organ’ is a relatively new term in the organ world it means  configuring one of the latest arranger keyboards to be used as an organ setup, typically with bass pedals and lower manual.

This is often done with a ‘dummy’ keyboard and standalone set of midi bass pedals communication being via the standard midi ports.

Another way of achieving a Twinset organ is to by connecting a dedicated home organ to an arranger via its midi ports, here I show you what I have done with my Orla Grande Theatre and my Pa900 keyboard but similar things can be done with any modern keyboard and organ, though some may be more or less suitable depending on midi specs, the Orla and Korg Work seemlessly after some one-time configuration work!

Sheet Music Display

I used a Korg pa900 keyboard partly because I wanted to control the Twinset from my iPad Pro (I have the larger screen size, which is much better for displaying sheet music). The application I use is the ever popular Somgbook+ application which works with the Korg Pa Songbook facility and the Yamaha Tyros Registration System, the Korg is very easy to setup the tyros slightly more cumbersome but I have heard that the  latest Yamaha Genos is even better than a Korg, but at 5 times the price of my pa900 I won’t be changing soon!

Another BIGGGG advantage of the Songbook+ app is you can annotate the digitised sheet music with customised midi controller buttons…. yes that’s right no need for a separate midi controller! I used the iPad to display the music at the click of a button, bring up the the correct sounds and styles and  also have buttons configured to remotely control the keyboard…. I can change style variations and one touch settings etc by clicking virtual buttons on my sheet music. Songbook+ has made it easy to copy and paste whole sets of buttons to a page.

so the iPad sits on the organ music rest, I search the iPad for a tune to play it brings up the sheet music and away I go.

Instrument Configurations

Midi out for keyboard goes to midi in on organ. L and R 3/4” mono jacks are used out form keyboard to in on organ.

1 Orla Organ Configurations

Not much needs to be done!

First I set the ‘Power Up’ to Last p38 user manual, and set the touch sensitivity to 1 (and ensure touch sensitive button is on).

The only other to do is click all conductor buttons and set all volumes for each conductor channel to zero, (as we probably don’t want to mix organ sounds with keyboard at least at this stage). This can then be saved to an OVP.

Orla Organ Conductor colour coded channels correspond nicely with keyboard channels.

One great thing about the Orla is that it has 3 channels for upper and 1 for lower which coincidentally matches the keyboard therefore you can even use the organs conductor to conduct the preset keyboard voices!


Pairing Up Organ And Keyboard Channels

Clicking global-midi and then midi-in it is easy to pair up the channels of the organ conductor channels to the appropriate keyboard section.



Configuring lower manual on organ to trigger arranger chords.

We also have to configure the lower manual of the organ to trigger chords for the auto accompaniment. All controller midi events eg volume on organ swell and the organ’s sustain pedal are also matched to the keyboards control channel. Finally set style ‘Memory’ button to ON, and Synchro Stsrt ON, we also use the Pa900s midi filter for each channel to filter out all midi controller changes (this ensures any volume changes on the organ conductor instruments has no effect on keyboard volumes for the respective instruments).

Finally I save to ‘My Setting’ so on power up everything is always ready as before.


I sit at the keyboard and create songbook entries and set up the songbook to call up the correct sheet music (photographed from a sheet music page) I then only have to annotate the sheet music once for each page with the group of buttons corresponding to the style controlling buttons on the keyboard (eg var1-4 and intro/endings etc), it is then ready to play from the organ, I just place iPad on music rest select the music and play, controlling the keyboard remotely using the controller buttons on the sheet music!

So far this works seamlessly! With the added bonus that the Orla Magic `chord OMC (which is similar to technicord on technics, magic genie on lowreys wersichord on wersi etc) works great!