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Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby mdyde » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:30 pm

Hello Neumie,

Neumie wrote:I don't mean to sound critical or unkind, as Hauptwerk is a godsend for aspiring and accomplished organists and the creators and community around it are very giving and cordial. But the fact that I put in almost two hours with the manual in hand and still have the organ's great manual triggering the bass pedals in HW tells me I'm in for a rough ride before this software is an invisible extension of my thinking.


You need to select your MIDI keyboard's MIDI port in the *left-hand* ('Console MIDI IN') column on Hauptwerk's 'General settings | MIDI ports | MIDI IN ports' screen tab (not the right-hand column).

Then load the St. Anne's organ, if it isn't already loaded, and right-click on the desired virtual keyboard (e.g. the Great), select 'Auto-detect MIDI ... settings ...', and follow the on-screen instructions.

Does that make it work properly for you?

(The 'Quick-start' section in the Hauptwerk user guide covers those steps -- pages 33-45 in the current v4.2.1 version -- and instructions to do them pop up automatically via wizards the first time you run Hauptwerk and load an organ.)
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby josq » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:45 pm

Dear Neumie, I think almost all of us have gone through similar experiences! Frustrating when you just begin, but rewarding once it works.
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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby Grant_Youngman » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:51 pm

Neumie wrote:What I have read several times - and which is my experience exactly - is that setting up Hauptwerk is not entirely straightforward. In fact, the vibe I'm getting from this thread and the forum in general is that Hauptwerk is in part a community of survivors of the setting-up process. All the folks who couldn't figure out the prefs and settings are no longer with us.

I don't know yet if I'll be one of the survivors who get to enjoy HW every day. I'll give it another earnest effort and see if I have success this time.


This is simply an overwhelmingly dim view. That you have to somehow be a "survivor" to enjoy HW. It's false.

It takes very modest understanding to get a typical relatively simple first HW configuration up and running. You don't need much more than whatever computer you have, a midi or USB/midi port to plug in your Rodgers console, and a set of headphones to plug into your existing computer audio output. Presuming you're using a paid HW version, there is support from the HW team, and many many knowledgable people here on the forum to hold your hand and get you up and running.

There are excellent and knowledgable paid consultants around here also that for a relatively modest cost can actually set it all up for you — and even do it remotely.

Follow the Quick Start guide in the manual and unless you plan to start with something way out of the box, you'll be up and running in no time. There is simply NO comparison (cost/performance or musicality) between HW and a typical home installation of some commercial thingy.

Forget how thick the manual is, and dive in … :-)
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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby scottherbert » Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:10 pm

Neumie, many people on here, including myself, have given you advice on how to get into Hauptwerk. I even bared my soul as to my naivete' when I started. We ALL find this the MOST satisfying organ playing experience, for a myriad of reasons.

Forgive my bluntness, but we do not need to beg you to get Hauptwerk, go ahead and get an Allen, or whatever! I'm sure you'll be very happy with it.

~S
"Life is just a dream, it is in death that we truly awaken!"
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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby jwillans » Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:15 pm

Neumie -

May I suggest that you are viewing HW through the wrong lens. HW does not provide a musical instrument - it provides a piece of an instrument (the software) which when assembled with other pieces (computer hardware, MIDI devices) can be used to form an instrument. Therefore to build a HW instrument, one must also have insight into the other pieces and their assembly. Because HW can work with with lots of different pieces then it has to be flexible, and with flexibility comes a level of complexity. I would echo Martin's view that HW is probably as simple as it can be given its flexibility. Its simplicity is at at a level where "hobbyist organ builders" with a basic knowledge can use it to build instruments.

It is not reasonable to compare the manual of a Rodgers with that of HW. The former is a complete instrument that does not require assembly, the latter is a piece an instrument ready to be assembled. You are comparing a car to a "car engine". If you are not comfortable with this, then one approach would be to purchase a turn-key solution assembled around HW from a dealer. This would perhaps come with a learning curve more comparable to the Rodgers instrument.

May I also say that your survivors comment is unfair and not representative of the traction I have observed for HW over the past ten years. While I don't have privileged insight into the commercials, the industry around HW is easy to observe and indicative of real success: the vast amount of HW resellers, the number of professional level sample sets, and the number of instrument builders using HW. When I first started using HW it was significantly less usable and the forum activity did centre on usability challenges. The fact that there are so few questions of this nature in recent years - practical none - suggest that HW is now usable for the vast majority of people.
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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby scottherbert » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:33 pm

I still think that if he hates it so much he should just leave off. Those of us that love it, love it. Those that don't, don't need to come on here to criticize what they don't understand. :evil:

If you don't like HW fine, go play in someones yard that you DO like!

~S
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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby Neumie » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:22 pm

Boy, Scott ... I'm sure glad you're not the spokesman for everyone on this forum. I'd never check in again!

:mrgreen:

Let me add though, many (just about all) of the replies to my post were very encouraging and make me want to give assembling a HW system another shot. In fact, most of the replies give me hope that whatever setup troubles I'm having, they really are going to be singular items to get through, understand, and then enjoy the benefits of after they're done. And if it turns out that I just can't find my way (which I'm getting less worried about) ... the advice of just buying a turn-key Hauptwerk system sounds tempting. That didn't occur to me when I wrote about giving up and buying a new Rodgers.

:roll:

Martin's advice on settings for how to program the manuals was very helpful as that was the last thing I got stuck on. Martin, thanks for just going straight to the issue of my manuals mismatching with HW. You asked if that makes them work properly for me. I assume it will, but I haven't been able to set aside the couple of hours yet to sit down, open all the stuff, understand what's happening, and make it go. As soon as I do, I'll post my results.

Thank you everyone, for your helpful replies. I especially appreciate hearing that some of you had almost as much difficulty as I'm having - but powered through and made it all work. I wish that I could have posted immediately with great news, but I just haven't had the time this week to dive in again. I'll be on it again asap.
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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby seh52 » Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:30 am

Best to start as simply as possible, and expand as interest develops.
I started with the free version attached to a digital console and went on from there.
First, I found, installed, and learned how to play free virtual organs...must be least 30 of them.
Next, I sought and bought favorite commercial sample sets representing the various eras and styles of organ building.
Along the way, I expanded computer resources and audio equipment to optimize performance.
And I tuned and voiced each organ for my space.
By now, with a collection of more than 100 sample sets, i enjoy the varieties of organs that I and visiting concert organists select to make music!
The process has been a gradual expansion of knowledge and skill, sometimes learned with ease, sometimes with enough difficulty to need help from the Forum and even the pros, which has always been forthcoming, either free or for a fee.
I still eagerly await the release of another new sample set, if only to read about it and try out its demo version.
Hope you enjoy exploring, building and playing as much as you like!
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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby scottherbert » Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:56 am

Sorry Neumie, I got rather defensive when I read some of your comments after I tried to explain that I managed to get Hauptwerk up and running inside of a week without ANY computer skills, or Hauptwerk knowledge.

No, I am not a spokesman for the forum, nor for Hauptwerk. I am, however, quite proud of my accomplishments in this regard, being a survivor of a debilitating, near fatal accident, I'm happy to be doing anything! No, I cannot use all of the features that HW has, but I can use all that I want to use! As I have said before in the forum, it gave back my music. It is precious to me, so perhaps I am emotional about it, perhaps protective.

You called us "survivors", in my case, that word was literal.

~S
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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby Neumie » Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:24 pm

scottherbert wrote:Sorry Neumie


All is well, Scott. 8)

Now on with the discussions - although I probably won't post again until I set aside a few hours to have another go at getting through all the setup and seeing HW work for the first time. Hopefully this week.
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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby kaspencer » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:00 pm

Sorry to have come into this debate somewhat belatedly, Neumie.

Very often computer software design is a compromise, in that increasing the flexibility of a piece of software almost inevitably increases its complexity: more facilities = more decisions from the user. Hauptwerk illustrates this principle well. But we also have to accept when we are completely unfamiliar with the concepts of a new piece of software (as we all were when we first used Hauptwerk), there is not only the question of *how* to do something, we so often do not even know *what* we need to do anyway!

Sometimes the common online "manual" for a piece of software is not the most accessible means of finding answers, and printing a copy of that kind of manual for general browsing away from a computer is often difficult. This is why I wrote the book "All about Hauptwerk", (http://goo.gl/S85xIq) which hundreds of Hauptwerk users (new and old) seem to have found very useful.

However, to broaden the debate: there is another aspect to how easy Hauptwerk is to use: that of "usability" in the more technical software sense. This is an area where Hauptwerk could well be improved. Hauptwerk suffers the same issues generally as the two main host OSes - Windows & Mac OSes, rather than Android, which doesn't currently support Hauptwerk, but which supports touch operations much more completely -i.e. those first two mentioned have a poor design for touch screen operation.
As an example, those pop-up control panels (for example Audio MIDI etc) illustrate the point well in that, whilst the functional buttons are fine, they have a tiny "X" for closing the panel, and a narrow single-edge border for moving it.
Also using your touch-screen for navigating general menu structures, (when for example setting up a new sample set) is as difficult in Hauptwerk as it is in Windows generally - it is simply not designed for touch operations.

So there are many respects in which progress is yet to be made. I realise that some of these limitations are inherent in the historical baggage of what is a very old operating system (Even in Windows 10, applications are still controlled as they were in Windows 1.3 from 1985!), and others are due to features of the programming systems used in the design of Hauptwerk's graphical user interface.

Anyway good luck with your Hauptwerk experience!

Kenneth Spencer
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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby mdyde » Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:34 am

Hello Kenneth,

Just to clarify: the design intention with Hauptwerk v4's touch-screen support was (and is) that it should be fully operable for real-time playing from touch-screens (the virtual console, control panel functions, piston toolbar buttons). The intention wasn't that one would use a touch-screen for configuring Hauptwerk; we anticipated that a keyboard and mouse would still be used for those things (being more complex tasks, for which it's beneficial to be able to fit more information onto the screen). Optimising Hauptwerk specifically to be configured entirely from a touch-screen would involve a huge redesign, and would, in my opinion, make it significantly less optimal for use from a keyboard/mouse (as with Windows 8's touch-screen interface, compared to its its desktop interface, for example). My personal opinion is that touch-screens aren't a good means to interact with computers for tasks of any complexity, but they're fine for very simple tasks (such as Web browsing, or turning organ stops on/off, or pressing pistons, whilst playing).
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby kaspencer » Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:49 am

Thanks for that Martin ...

... I completely accept your comments, and I hope that you'll forgive me for being deliberately provocative in raising and illustrating the issues of trying to write applications for operating systems which are not fully touch-operation compliant but are something of a half-way house. And even then there are some badly implemented aspects of Windows which have annoyed me since day one!

Nevertheless, I'm sure you'd agree that closing or moving the popup control panels during real-time playing is inhibited by the size of the close button, and of the size of the single border which enables the panel to be moved. (I think that the QT multi-platform GUI development system which I believe is used is your restricting factor here). And tasks such as allocating the ranks of a large organ across a number of audio channels also involves a great deal of mouse movement across the dialogues.

I'm patiently waiting for a thought-operated operating system!

Best wishes,

Ken
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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby mdyde » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:26 am

Hello Ken,

kaspencer wrote:And tasks such as allocating the ranks of a large organ across a number of audio channels also involves a great deal of mouse movement across the dialogues.


I do certainly appreciate that configuring multi-channel audio is one key area (probably the main one) where Hauptwerk could be made easier to use, and that's something we definitely plan to address in the future.

kaspencer wrote:... I completely accept your comments, and I hope that you'll forgive me for being deliberately provocative in raising and illustrating the issues of trying to write applications for operating systems which are not fully touch-operation compliant but are something of a half-way house. And even then there are some badly implemented aspects of Windows which have annoyed me since day one!


Neither OS X, nor Windows in 'desktop' mode are intended to be operated from touch-screens. I don't agree that they should be redesigned for touch-screen use, because I personally feel that touch screens aren't a good means to interact with computers for anything but the simplest of tasks -- I find smart phones and tablets truly horrible to interact with for tasks of even moderate complexity, for example. Optimising software interfaces for touch-screens inherently compromises mouse/keyboard use, especially because you can fit much less information on the screen at once.

I personally very much like applications like Cubase, Photoshop and Logic (as it was before Apple bought it and simplified its interface) because they make it possible for serious/professional users to do very complex tasks very quickly and efficiently (for those people that care to invest the time to learn them), allowing huge amounts of complex information to seen on the screen at once and operated rapidly via keyboard short-cuts, for example.

kaspencer wrote:Nevertheless, I'm sure you'd agree that closing or moving the popup control panels during real-time playing is inhibited by the size of the close button, and of the size of the single border which enables the panel to be moved. (I think that the QT multi-platform GUI development system which I believe is used is your restricting factor here).


It's true that Qt defines the size of the control panel window handles, but, as I mentioned the intention is that you would use a mouse for setting up Hauptwerk initially (including positioning its windows), and just use a touch-screen for real-time playing. Making things bigger for touch-screens means that you can fit less on the screen (less control panels, for example, which would be a very significant disadvantage), so I wouldn't personally want to increase the size of those window handles.

We perhaps have to agree to disagree on that one.
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby sjkartchner » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:48 am

There is no question but that computer operating systems are still quite complex and largely unintuitive from a user's standpoint. The iOS (Apple iPads, iPhones, etc.) and Android environments have done a much better job of showing us what ease of use should look like. And yet as noted, those concepts have not translated well to the desktop/laptop operating system environments, and especially for more complex tasks. So as much as I appreciate and use my iOS devices, I simply could not do without the capabilities of my Windows or OSX machines for the more involved computing tasks I regularly do.

However, stepping outside the box a bit, it is not too difficult to imagine a front end interface to Hauptwerk (and other audio-centric programs) that would be much more visually and touch-screen oriented, and thus far more intuitive for many of us. For instance, think for a moment what a visual and touch screen interface could look like for routing audio connections by drawing or dragging connection lines between boxes representing various collections of interfaces, speakers, channels, ranks, divisions, etc. that in turn were created by dragging and dropping visual representations of those constituent parts. Or making voicing adjustments on a graphical interface.

The possibilities for improving ease of use are virtually (no pun intended) limitless, constrained only by time, resources, economic realities and computing power. Unfortunately, designing a new user interface paradigm for a limited market may simply not be practical, at least not with the development tools currently available. So, while we can wish for much greater ease of use, the current operating systems environment does not lend itself particularly well to such a vision, and certainly not while retaining the flexibility and power we have come to enjoy and expect from programs like Hauptwerk.
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