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How an organ is sampled?

A discussion forum for anything even marginally Hauptwerk-related.

Re: How an organ is sampled?

Postby csw900 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:14 am

Hi sjkartchner

Regarding the noise: I think whether it should be cancelled depends upon where it is coming from. If it was not coming from the organ - then fair enough, cancel it. However if it was coming from the organ then either the microphone was badly placed or it is real noise from the organ which should not be cancelled.

Your argument about noise from the organ being cumulative when more than one note is pressed is true but not relevant because the true organ notes emitted by the pipes is increased in the same ratio. (Thus the signal to noise ratio remains constant).

Why not use the natural reverb of the auditorium? Adding artificial reverb is easy but cannot achieve more than an approximate representation of the sounds heard by a listener sitting in the auditorium.

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Re: How an organ is sampled?

Postby josq » Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:32 am

csw900 wrote:Your argument about noise from the organ being cumulative when more than one note is pressed is true but not relevant because the true organ notes emitted by the pipes is increased in the same ratio. (Thus the signal to noise ratio remains constant).


I respectfully disagree. On a real pipe organ there is no constant signal to noise ratio. Tracker and wind noise might be very audible when using soft registrations. If signal to noise ratio were constant, imagine hearing hammers and storms when playing full organ...
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Re: How an organ is sampled?

Postby sjkartchner » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:41 am

josq wrote:
csw900 wrote:Your argument about noise from the organ being cumulative when more than one note is pressed is true but not relevant because the true organ notes emitted by the pipes is increased in the same ratio. (Thus the signal to noise ratio remains constant).


I respectfully disagree. On a real pipe organ there is no constant signal to noise ratio. Tracker and wind noise might be very audible when using soft registrations. If signal to noise ratio were constant, imagine hearing hammers and storms when playing full organ...


Exactly. Again, every sample set producer uses some form of noise reduction to remove, as much as possible, all noise sources within and outside of the organ, including wind noise, HVAC (heating and cooling) noise, tracker noise, etc. It is impossible to fully avoid these kinds of noises with microphone placement alone and still get all of the desired recording positions. The trick is to remove as much of the noise as possible without affecting the sound of the pipe(s) being sampled. This is where sophisticated software tools come into use.

As for the type of reverb used, that depends entirely upon the sort of playback system for which the set is designed. In this case, the set designer clearly wanted to give user control over the amount of reverb heard, which makes perfect sense in the applications for which this set will be used. The users of this set would not be interested in having to "adjust" the amount of reverb by truncating the release tails. And even using a slider to adjust the mixture of near and far mic locations would not be the typical modus operandi for this type of playback system.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a professionally-produced video of this caliber showing exactly how a high-quality Hauptwerk set is produced? Absent that (and I won't be holding my breath), this video is the closest I've ever seen to detailing the major steps involved in producing an organ sample set. I, for one, will thoroughly appreciate it for what it is and not spend time criticizing it (and the set itself) for what it is not.
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Re: How an organ is sampled?

Postby magnaton » Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:49 am

sjkartchner wrote:Exactly. Again, every sample set producer uses some form of noise reduction to remove, as much as possible, all noise sources within and outside of the organ, including wind noise, HVAC (heating and cooling) noise, tracker noise, etc. It is impossible to fully avoid these kinds of noises with microphone placement alone and still get all of the desired recording positions. The trick is to remove as much of the noise as possible without affecting the sound of the pipe(s) being sampled. This is where sophisticated software tools come into use.

I agree having worked with early digital samplers. Listening through a pair of headphones of a live mic in a living room with carpet and drapes you can still hear ambient white noise. Once the instrument you are recording starts to play, this noise is less obvious. The video demonstrates this very well, especially copying the noise prior to the pipe speech to a buffer then using it as a constant to remove those frequencies from the pipe recording. My critique is he removed 100% of the noise. This software should have a setting that lets you determine how much to remove; 20%, 50%, etc. This might have made the final product less sterile sounding. On the other hand, it seems the objective was to capture just the organ itself, a dry set, so you can add reverb or post signal processing that you desire. For a dry set the producer should have had the mics much closer to the pipes when they were being recorded, not outside the facade. So not sure why there were other mics placed further away and if those were even being used for the final product?

sjkartchner wrote:Wouldn't it be nice to have a professionally-produced video of this caliber showing exactly how a high-quality Hauptwerk set is produced? Absent that (and I won't be holding my breath), this video is the closest I've ever seen to detailing the major steps involved in producing an organ sample set.

Our talented sample set providers have skills and techniques that they will keep as proprietary. :-) Not to mention the type of equipment being used. Here is another video that shows how to (correctly) go about sampling a pipe organ and capturing the room for which it speaks into. Notice the 3 different types of microphones being used and 3 recordings per note.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OogqIs7kMDE&list=RDOogqIs7kMDE&start_radio=1&t=5

Danny B.
Last edited by magnaton on Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How an organ is sampled?

Postby sjkartchner » Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:23 pm

Thanks for reminding of that video. What a process that was!
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Re: How an organ is sampled?

Postby csw900 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:45 am

Hi All

I am glad I helped to stir up such an interesting discussion about noise and noise reduction.

Of course noise should be cancelled when microphones are picking it up from the organs machinery (motor and wind etc.) but I am not so sure about cancelling every scrap of noise. I think that continuous noise that can be heard from the audience's listening area ought to be preserved as part of the organ's character.

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Re: How an organ is sampled?

Postby RichardW » Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:38 pm

I think blower noise is a major factor that requires noise reduction.

If you record each note separately then you get one set of blower noise for each sample. If you then play a chord with, say, five notes and ten stops then you get fifty sets of blower noise along with it - which is forty-nine more than you really wanted.

Regards,
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