When Central Church opened in 1976, it was equipped with a custom built 4 manual Makin organ which was advertised as being of cathedral specification. By the early ’nineties, this was developing signs of 500 volt electrostatic deterioration which the builders thought would make the organ unserviceable in the medium long term. In 1994 the decision was taken by the church to commission a new instrument, albeit much smaller in concept. Wyvern were eventually given the contract for the new build and the new instrument was dedicated early in 1996. The opening recital was given by Carlo Curley on 30 March 1996 and the Organ Society visited soon after. The system used by Wyvern for this instrument was their version of the Bradford University development. Unfortunately, by 2005 this was giving intermittent shut-down problems resulting in an expensive (in electronic terms!) re-systeming in 2008. The organ now operates using the Wyvern WpX system which is used under license from Phoenix.
This is a complex digital sound sampling system which has note-by-note voicing parameters. The new system required a complete renewal of the associated audio because the old amplifiers and FR250 speakers could not handle the additional information provided by WpX. The organ now uses 14 channels rated at 300w per channel. The fifty or so M60 speakers are faithfully arranged in pipe organ format with, for example, trumpet/tuba stops facing outwards at the front and the swell speakers facing backwards at the rear of the organ chamber. In between these, the speakers for intermediate ranks (Great, Pedal etc.) are positioned at various angles to enhance sound distribution. The console is carried on a very mobile plinth which can be positioned at any location within the main worship area of the church. The prestigious ‘Choir and Organ’ magazine of September 1996 featured this organ, and the Wyvern website had a dedicated page showing photographs of the console and an overview of the system which read:
This large church is the amalgamation of three local churches in the centre of Torquay. The organ is a large Wyvern C356 that has recently been rebuilt with our new custom generating system. The organ is complimented with a comprehensive multi channel speaker system including two large subbass units all concealed in a specially designed speaker chamber.