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Zwolle v. Kampen

Existing and forthcoming Hauptwerk instruments, recommendations, ...

Zwolle v. Kampen

Postby sutherland » Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:11 pm

I'd be interested to hear the opinions of anyone who has the the sample sets for these two Dutch organs. Whenever I ask my Dutch friends for their opinions (Dutchmen always have opinions) on which organ is best they always say Zwolle, although they are of course talking about the original instrument.

In favour of the Zwolle instrument, it's complete and not too expensive. Against, I find the Sonus Paradisi choices confusing and wonder why they can't just include all 3 possibilities rather than forcing us to choose when 99% of us will only use one of the sets.

In favour of Bovenkerk, the samples sound better to my ears, but I am no critic and maybe it's down to the choice of music, player, or something else altogether. Against, I feel buying a third of sample set while awaiting the rest kind of leaves the customer over a barrel when it comes to completing the set.

Any guiidance, advice, and views would be appreciated.

Thanks.
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Postby Stefanussen » Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:12 pm

Hi sutherland,

I'm hardly the authority on these organs, so take my response with a grain of salt!

So the Dutch organists prefer Zwolle to Kampen? I would have perhaps guessed the opposite. I was just looking at some CDs with Feike Asma, Jan Zwart, etc. I think the Kampen organ was on one of the covers, and I've yet to hear a whole lot about the Zwolle organ. Also, if you search YouTube, it looks like there are a lot more videos of the Kampen organ than there are of Zwolle. I'm curious as to why the Kampen organ appears to be the more iconic organ of the two, yet organists in the area seem to prefer the Zwolle.

Now, speaking of the Hauptwerk sample set, I've listened to the recordings of the Zwolle, and I can't say that I like them as much as the Kampen recordings. It's probably a combination of factors, but it seems as if some of the ambiance is lost in the Zwolle, whereas the Kampen really is pretty thrilling in terms of ambiance. I feel like I'm there in the room when I listen to the Hinsz. I don't really get that feeling with Zwolle.

I think I'll go back and listen to some more recordings of the Zwolle just for good measure. I do agree that all the different options with the Zwolle are terribly confusing.

I have wondered how Jiri is able to churn out samples so quickly. I believe that the Zwolle, at 64 stops weighs in at the largest HW sample set available. The Hinsz will weigh in at 56 stops, so a good 8 stops smaller. Yet Sonus Paradisi produced the Zwolle in 3 different versions (dry, wet, surround) in a relatively short period of time.
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Postby RoyKnight » Mon Sep 29, 2008 9:11 pm

Hi Sutherland.

I have both the Zwolle and the Kampen sample sets. Comparing the two, I don't have a real preference -because they are both hugely different. As Rob referenced, the Kampen organ seems to be in a larger room, and it sounds as though you are further away from the pipes then it would sound at the console. It is wonderful to perform on and I assume sounds more like what the congregation would hear -- I can only assume, because I've not been there. It promises to be a magnificent instrument when it is complete, and I am certainly looking forward to that.

Conversely, the Zwolle sample sounds more like I would imagine from the console - "in your face" is too strong a description, but it comes close. Even though it is a larger organ, it seems more intimate to me, and I practice Bach on it more. But it is also fun to perform on.

I don't know much about the time variance in the sampling process, but I know that both sample sets are of the excellent quality, and you wouldn't go wrong with either.

Roy
"Practice makes permanent"
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Postby Gert » Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:03 am

Hi,
Dutchmen always have opinions

Indeed ;-)

Personally, I like the real organ of Kampen more than Zwolle, may be because the Bovenkerk-organ is a bit 'romantic-baroque' (in my ears) and the Zwolle more ' baroque - baroque '. Indeed Rob, there are a lot, lot more cd-recordings of Kampen than Zwolle.
Unfortunately I don't have the very nice sample set of the Bovenkerk available yet, so only some thoughts about Zwolle.

I have wondered how Jiri is able to churn out samples so quickly

I'm not sure, but my impression is that Jiri works with a team of friends and students. Besides, the salary/payments are not very high in the Czech Republic.

choices confusing and wonder why they can't just include all 3 possibilities

In my opinion it's not too difficult:
- When you like dry, choose dry. See my personal opinion for this choice: http://www.pcorgan.com/Benodigdheden2EN.html#WetDry
- The Surround version contains the Wet version too.
- When you have 8 GB or more, a multi channel sound card, a fast processor (and a bit money) choose Surround.
- When you have 4 GB or less, choose Wet.

This week I installed a new (now dedicated HW) computer (bought via www.mixtuur.nl ):
- Asus, Intel P45 chipset, 1600Mhz FSB ATX motherboard (suitable for 16 GB)
- 8 GB (4 x 2GB)
- Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 2.66 GHz, 12 Mb cache processor
- I can reach a polyphony about 6000-7000

Now I load the Surround version:
- Front 16 bit compressed (default options)
- Rear 14 bit compressed
- I can load about 40 stops

Place the Front-speakers in Front of you and the Rear behind you.

It gave an enormous spacial effect with great room impression, especially when you play a plenum or tutti (full tutti not necessary) registration.
I think the Surround version is a bit undervalued, probably because of the high hardware requirements.

I think Surround is the future, not Dry.

Best regards,
Gert
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Postby micdev » Tue Sep 30, 2008 8:11 am

I think Surround is the future, not Dry


Gert, I never had the chance to try a surrounded sample, but the more I play with dry samples+convolution reverb, and the more I like it.

Not only can I recreate the surround effect, but I can easily change the acoustic of my "virtual venue", obtaining at the same time a different organ. For example, the St-George's Casavant can sound like an organ from cathedral or one from a little chapel by simply changing the impulse response.

To recreate the real acoustic of the organ, I guess that surround must be pretty convincing, but dry+convolution (while not recreating the original acoustic unless you have an impulse response from the venue) gives you many organ, for many type of music with a single sample.

Btw, thanks a lot for your website and reviews. Love it

Regards
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Postby Sander » Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:04 pm

I think the organ purists prefere the Kampen as supposed to be a more authentic baroque instrument. But your taste ofcourse can have a totally different opinion than the purists, so I don't think this should influence the choice. I haven't heard any of the two instruments though, only some demo's.

What should influence the choice is where you want to listen to your organ. As this gives a totally different perception. I sometimes enjoyed the Schnitger organ of the Martinikerk in Groningen more when I assisted at the console, then when I was listening in the church. But this is a thing I have more often, since i'm more actively involved then. If you want to listen in the church, choose Kampen. If you want to be closer to the console choose Zwolle.
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Postby jpr » Wed Oct 01, 2008 12:27 pm

Hi sutherland,

I don't have Kampen (yet) but played Zwolle in all 3 versions...

The wet version is wonderful (and less demanding); the surround version is simply unbelievable...

I do agree with Gert : if your computer is powerfull enough, choose Zwolle surround, definitely !
All the best,
Jean-Philippe.
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Re: Zwolle v. Kampen

Postby lucssohn » Wed Oct 01, 2008 3:38 pm

sutherland wrote:I'd be interested to hear the opinions of anyone who has the the sample sets for these two Dutch organs. Whenever I ask my Dutch friends for their opinions (Dutchmen always have opinions) on which organ is best they always say Zwolle, although they are of course talking about the original instrument.

In favour of the Zwolle instrument, it's complete and not too expensive. Against, I find the Sonus Paradisi choices confusing and wonder why they can't just include all 3 possibilities rather than forcing us to choose when 99% of us will only use one of the sets.

In favour of Bovenkerk, the samples sound better to my ears, but I am no critic and maybe it's down to the choice of music, player, or something else altogether. Against, I feel buying a third of sample set while awaiting the rest kind of leaves the customer over a barrel when it comes to completing the set.

Any guiidance, advice, and views would be appreciated.

Thanks.


I have the samples of Zwolle and that organ sounds great. I like the reeds so much. They are really nice. Also the plenum of the organ sounds fantastic.
I have not yet order the samples of Kampen, but I think this is also a very nice organ. In Holland there are a lot of fantastic instruments and it's just so fine that we can explore all this instruments with Hauptwerk.
I also have the samples of Leens, an other instrument of Hinz. It’s a smaller organ but I have play on it and I like the samples very much. There is not so much acoustic in that church and that helps to practice at home. This is also an organ with some nice reeds. The trumpet and the Voce Humana of the hoofdwerk and the Duciana on the positief. Also on the pedals there are nice stops like the cornet 2R.
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Postby Jan Klepac » Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:35 am

Well said, Mr. Roy Knight! If you want to listen to the church, choose Kampen, if you want to listen to the organ, choose Zwolle.
But I like to add this: if you want to listen to the organ, choose Zwolle Wet. If you want to listen to the church and to the organ, choose Zwolle Surround - this is the absolute top sample set I have ever ever heard! If you want to add your own reverb, choose Zwolle Dry. It is that simple.
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Postby sutherland » Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:44 am

Thanks for all the helpful replies. I have been reading the Sonus Paradisi website, but I don't fully comprehend the surround idea. I thought that with HW one could route different ranks or stops to particular speakers anyway. I take it the surround version is doing something more than that.

My setup is an EMU-1616M with two studio monitors and a woofer. I take it the addition of a couple more studio monitors would allow me to use the surround version. Is that right?
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Postby jpr » Thu Oct 02, 2008 11:39 am

Yes, HW allows it to route ranks to different speakers... but the surround version of Zwolle routes *different* signals (a stereo "front" signal + a stereo "rear" signal), recorded from *different* places in the church to front and rear speakers respectively, recreating in a very convincing way the acoustic you would experience in the church.

Or at least, this is the way I understand it ;-)
All the best,
Jean-Philippe.
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Postby honza » Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:38 pm

I think Jiří, Brett and prof Maier do their best and their effort is to be appreciated. From my point of view Jiří´s samplesets are far the best. They are absolutely clear and realistic, no unwanted noise, but at the same time they preserve all liveness of original. All organists know, how differently organ sounds by the console and down in church. I have no expericnce with Jiří´s sorround versions. But besides dry version and additional reverb according customers wish it could be useful to have more proximal, direct version ( this is what we know as wet), and another, sampled simultaneously, from greater distance ( more "diffuse"). Direct useful for chamber pieces, trios etc, and diffuse for plenos and great pieces. After all, I am interested in Cavaille Coll from Caen, because, in romantic, symphonic instrument the wet sampleset simply must be more diffuse than direct "from console". But i any case, for me Jiří´s samplesets are unbelievable realistic, clear and precisely processed, what is necessary condition for any version. For those who are not satisfied with "very proximal" character, there is simply the possibility of dry and adjustable reverb. I mostly use original wet samples and I am fully satisfied.
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Postby zurek » Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:03 pm

Thank you for your inquiry about the surround version of the sample set. Perhaps, I should explain more in detail this feature,but in fact, I like to create top sample sets and spend time finetuning their features rather than writing about them,this is the sad truth. I know that the promotion is the most poor side of Sonus Paradisi. But I cannot dedicate more time to it. Sorry. Perhaps my resellers could do (and I think they do) their job to explain more about the features of my sample sets.

So, in normal wet version, you have stereo samples - each sample (each virtual pipe) has 2 channels, left and right. You can of course route these two channels to any audio output so you can for example mismatch the channels completely, but the most convincing way to recreate the stereo sound image is to route the left channel to the left audio output and the right channel to the right audio output.
Now, when it comes to the surround version of the sample set, each sample (each virtual pipe) has not 2 channels, but 4 of them. Two of these channels reproduce the sound of the organ (these are the "front" left and right channels - supposing the listener is looking towards the organ) and the 2 remaining channels reproduce the response of the church (the microphones are in a way directed away from the organ towards the altar). Therefore, I would say,these two channels should be routed to the rear speakers of your audio setup (behind your head,more or less). In this way, you get the sound of the organ from the front speakers and the response of the church from the rear speakers and you are feeling virtually in the church.
In practice, it would be difficult to handle 4 channel sample in Hauptwerk. Therefore, the sample is split into two different samples, each having 2 channels. Hence, the result looks like if each stop is composed from two "ranks", one "rank" contains the front portion of the sound, the second "rank" contains the rear portion of the sound. This is clearly shown when you load the sample set and you can choose where to direct every such rank according to your wish.

Finally, it may be noted that the 2 front channels of the surround version are the very same 2 channels of the wet versions - it uses the same stereo samples. So, the surround version is the wet version + 2 new channels for the rear speakers.

If you have further questions, do not hesitate to ask, but it is always more secure to ask on e-mail as I read e-mails often, while I read this forum only seldom - practically only when I myself want to make some announcement and if someone (like Jan Skvaril or Matthias) reminds me that there is an interesting topic on the forum which I should read and respond. I am sorry, but to follow all the topics of this forum in other manner is completely impossible for me - it would be enormously time consuming.
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Re: Zwolle v. Kampen

Postby zurek » Tue Oct 07, 2008 11:59 am

sutherland wrote:I find the Sonus Paradisi choices confusing and wonder why they can't just include all 3 possibilities rather than forcing us to choose when 99% of us will only use one of the sets.


Indeed, that is precisely the reason why we sell the versions independently. Because each user prefers different version, it is nice that he/she can buy only the version he/she wants without being forced to buy all the versions together!
Nevertheless, whenever you want to acquire all the 3 versions of the set together, you can do it at very special discounted price.
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Postby sutherland » Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:49 pm

Jiri (and others),

Thank you for your explanations. I now understand that there is no way I can hear what the surround set will actually sound like by listening to demos.

Concerning buying the versions separately or together, I think the problem is that users like me don't actually have a clue what version will sound best. Should I use dry with some home-made reverb? Should I use the wet? Should I buy more hardware and go for the surround? I have no idea and I don't want to restrict myself to one that might not be best nor to spend extra money for two sets I'm not going to use.

I know that some people on the forum seem to buy every sample set going, but the rest of us have wives who might notice if we started spending £500 a month on sample sets. The result of the multiple choices for one set is likely to be buyers who sit on their hands or buy Bovenkerk Perhaps you will gain business rather than lose it by having one price for the sample sets that includes all 3 options. As I said, we can only use one at a time anyway.
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