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Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

A discussion forum for anything even marginally Hauptwerk-related.

Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby kaspencer » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:20 am

Stan,

You have come up with a rather brilliant idea for the interface for allocating ranks to audio channels! I look forward to seeing it done that way!

Best wishes,

Ken
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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby organtechnology » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:16 am

sjkartchner wrote: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.


Hello Stan,

What you suggest sounds a lot like the Dante Controller interface for routing Audio over Ethernet signals. The Dante Controller has the routing matrix on screen with Transmitters across the top and Receivers down the left hand side and you touch the screen at the point where the two cross and they become connected.

Running the Dante ASIO audio module application creates Transmitters and Receivers and the Dante compatible hardware used also appears as Transmitters and Receivers. These are matched up through the Dante Controller.

You might want to explore http://www.audinate.com for some examples. Some of these audio installations are huge but controlled through a simple graphical interface.

Best regards,

Thomas
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Yes, Hauptwerk is easy to use once you learn what to do.
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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby cvmoreau » Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:06 am

A bit over five years ago I really wanted an electronic organ with sampled pipe sounds for home. I was just about to purchase a two manual instrument with around 20 stops for a bit over two thousand dollars. The pedal board would have been around another $2,000. Before ordering it, however, a friend directed me to Hauptwerk. Instead of buying the planned unit I purchased two keyboards from Classic Midi works and the Basic edition of the Hauptwerk software. I put the two keyboards on a computer desk and off I went, enjoying it to the max. In the years since the console and system have grown and grown so that I now have a beautiful four manual and pedal board console running on a fast dedicated multi-core i7 processor computer with 32 Gb of memory and a solid state 1 TB drive. It's been a five year journey and I've loved every minute of it. I've just now starting working on my sound system and will probably continue to add to and improve it for the next several years.

Once setup and installed Hauptwerk is no more difficult to use than any other organ, but has the advantage that it allows you to play various styles of organs from around the world all on the same console. Knowing what I know now, I can't imagine choosing any pre-manufactured instrument that can never be modified and improved. That's me, of course, and I certainly wouldn't fault you if you feel differently.
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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby Antoni Scott » Wed Jun 14, 2017 7:23 am

To cmoreau:
I'm probably the best person to talk to about answering the question "Is Hauptwerk Easy to use". The short answer is "Yes", the long answer is "it depends on how familiar you are with computers". The actual Hauptwerk program has evolved over the nine years (wow, is it that long ???) since I got my first version, by Krumhorn Labs.
Today, the operation, or navigating around the myriad things it can do, is quite easy although at first it may seem quite daunting. When you don't know what went wrong, it is next to impossible to ask what it is that you should do to fix it. In my opinion, the single best improvement over the earlier versions is the "auto-detect" option which just about does every command instantly and easily. For instance, if I want to assign the Swell Pedal expression to any of my balanced Swell pedals, all I have to do is put the computer mouse cursor over the swell pedal on the monitor image of the virtual console swell pedal, back click (or right click) the mouse, push the real balanced swell pedal all the way in and then all the way out and its done.

Everything else is relatively self-explanatory. The problem for me is setting up Hauptwerk from the disk, or performing dongle updates. This is still an issue and has caused me to delay upgrading to the latest version for a very long time for fear of messing something up. Since the preferred platform is Mac based (rather than PC) , right from the beginning this limits getting third party help. There are far fewer Mac computer shops than PC, and if you are fortunate to find one, they never heard of Hauptwerk. This is an unsettling situation.
Help is not always "helpful", Instructions are not always clear to me. Even today I do not know how to separate my left and right touch sensitive monitors to reflect the actual stop jambs on the instrument. The users manual does not explain how to do it in a way that I can understand. It would be nice if there was an option to be able to get outside help to take over your computer and do it for you.

That being said, once the software has been installed, navigating the programs is easy, so easy in fact that even I was able to retrofit several consoles to Hauptwerk and use moving drawknob or tilt tabs on consoles rather than use touch sensitive monitors.

Despite my personal occasional difficulties I would never suggest that someone not get Hauptwerk because of my issues. The realism of the sample sets far outweighs the problems I have encountered.
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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby UndaMaris » Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:25 am

I have very few regrets in my life. Probably the only one is this: the amount of time (thousands of hours) I have spent fiddling around with computer programs and their problems. A lot of this was in connection with my work. Very often the problem boiled down to a missing comma or dot. Sometimes it took me days to work this out for one problem.

Why is this? Because most computer software is written by people who are unable to understand or empathise with those who are actually going to use it. For example, I want to carry out a mailmerge using a database entered into a spreadsheet and a linked word processing program. The last time I did this was ten years ago. Has the process got any easier since then? Absolutely not. If anything, the gobbledegook in the user manual is even more difficult to follow. Why is this? Search me gov'! Every so often we are promised that in so many years time computers will overtake the human brain in terms of their intelligence. Yet for me, they remain just as stupid as ever. They just follow instructions. If you don't know what instructions to give them, they fail.

This is the mindset in which I approached Hauptwerk when I was contemplating using it around ten months ago. When I finally took the plunge I was full of trepidation and foreboding because of my previous experience. So when I received my software and loaded it into my computer I was expecting big trouble.

It never happened. Hauptwerk is the art work of the computer software world. It is a program which works (provided you follow the clearly written instructions and warnings). Every time I followed an instruction (e.g. Autodetect settings for linking keyboard or pedals via MIDI to Hauptwerk) I expected it to fail. It did not. I am not interested in computer software or computers per se. I don't want to build an organ. I just want to play beautiful organ sample sets on my organ - for five or six hours per day, without having to waste time fiddling around with computers. That is what I now do, thanks to Hauptwerk.

So here's some advice to anyone who just wants to get on with playing the organ and wants a problem free experience with Hauptwerk. I can guarantee it works, it's simple to set up and will be problem free.

Buy a new iMac 2017 computer and make sure it's got 32GB of RAM (if you don't have enough RAM you will be forever having problems).
Download the free Hauptwerk version.
Buy a MIDI capable digital organ, checking with the vendor that it works with Hauptwerk (get that in writing).
Link your computer to the organ using a MIDI interface (just a cable really). The Roland UM one works perfectly.
Follow the Hauptwerk instructions for auto-detecting your keyboards and expression pedals.
Buy an iPad, download an app called iDisplay and link your iPad to your computer screen so that you can control Hauptwerk and the organ stops from the organ desk with the iPad touchscreen.
Buy and install the advanced version of Hauptwerk and the sample sets you want.
8. Play the organ.

It's not cheap, it's not for everyone, but I can tell you it works.

The Trost organ of Waltershausen, the Notre Dame de Metz Cavaillé Coll, Hauptwerk and Apple computers are for me some of the greatest achievements of mankind. They thrill and inspire me everyday.
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Re: Is Hauptwerk actually easy to use?

Postby RichardW » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:40 am

UndaMaris wrote:For example, I want to carry out a mailmerge using a database entered into a spreadsheet and a linked word processing program. The last time I did this was ten years ago. Has the process got any easier since then? Absolutely not. If anything, the gobbledegook in the user manual is even more difficult to follow. Why is this? Search me gov'!

Apologies - somewhat O/T.

I had to smile. Every Christmas I would get a series of phone calls from my brother-in-law who was trying to print out the address labels for his Christmas cards!

In my humble opinion, Microsoft Word did more than I would ever need in 1994 - the year I first used it. However, Microsoft has spent the next 23 years adding ever more bells and whistles with every upgrade. Very few, if any, of those later additions I will ever use. All that happens is that the options I do want are moved about and slid further down the menu structure.

They have managed all that while retaining all the annoying features like auto numbering of lists that drives you mad. Sometimes the formatting has a mind of its own, yes, mail merge is fiddly to get right, pasting in tables can have all kinds of unexpected consequences. Once, I was trying to draw a flow chart. I got it almost perfect and just made one final tweak. The whole thing screwed itself up into a ball like a spider when disturbed. Could I get it back again ...?

Happy days,
Richard
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