Page 1 of 2

Setup evolution, hardware hacks, etc

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 1:35 pm
by Stefanussen
I recently made some interesting upgrades/hacks to my setup that some might find interesting. I am finally returning the big Cerwin-Vega speakers which have been on indefinite loan from a friend since I got 6 studio monitors. The idea was to try out some multi-channel configurations. Unfortunately, after fiddling with my Saffire LE, my suspicions were confirmed by Focusrite tech support that I can't have 6 independent channels + aux mix down (I was thinking headphone on the front could do that) for the sub. Worst $50 I ever saved (over the non-LE) :(

I found out that my 3-manual enclosure works better than I would have thought for 4-manuals. BTW, the real organ pistons have an absolutely fantastic feel to them (though this is reflected in the price...) and would recommend them to anyone provided that the budget is there. It is a bit of a hack job, but as you can see, the monitor covers most of the ugliness, and if you did want to "fix" it, it seems that it's just a 1 inch piece of wood glued onto a 1/4" piece of wood rather than a solid piece of routered wood as I had initially thought. Nothing an amateur carpenter can't handle.

For my next experiment, I'm going to see what the best way to make both the Choir and Solo manuals control the Positiv on the Metz without reconfiguring the manuals themselves.

First Iteration:


Current Iteration:


PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:15 pm
by RoyKnight

What a nice setup. Appreciated your comments regarding upgrading to round pistons -- something I had wondered about -- quite an increment in price. You will appreciate the multi-channel setup; it increases the breadth and realism of the instruments.

So when do you get your 2nd touch screen?


PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 3:40 pm
by Stefanussen
Hi Roy, the 2nd touchscreen is on the list :-) Also, using redirectable manuals, it was possible to have the positive on 2 manuals at once! I enjoy putting my big reed up there, makes me feel like I'm playing a big organ. I'm now anxiously awaiting Bovenkerk Vol. III.

Right now, I temporarily have it setup to a straight stereo setup (3 speakers are L and 3 are R). It's not what I was hoping for, but it will have to do for the immediate future. I may do some more experimenting this weekend to see if I can get some decent multi-channel action going. The only trick is, of course, getting sound to the sub.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 4:41 pm
by Stefanussen
Success! I figured out how to use my 5.1 Receiver as a digital - analog converter which means I can use S/PDIF (outputs 7/8) which means I have 6 channels for speakers and 2 for sub :D

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 6:41 pm
by RoyKnight
Congratulations Rob,

That's how I send mixed-down stereo signal from a Focusrite 8 channel; SPDIF to the Lexicon and from the Lexicon to a 5.1 surround. That way I have 8 channels of dry organ sound in front, and the reverb is distributed throughout the room toward the ceiling. I have the Gt, pedal channel at desk height, (sub on the floor in a diagonal position) with the remaining 3 manuals sounding from 3 pairs of monitors on a shelf, four feet above the organ. This layout localizes the various pipe divisions, as on a pipe organ where the pipes are nearly always above you, and the ensemble blends together through the reverb surround. Not very sophisticated, I know -- but it works. The trick is to work a lot with the Lexicon to provide a warm natural sounding reverb. I use both processors, one on large hall, and the second on arena, (successful with much deliberate tweaking). Of course on wet samples I bypass the reverb.


PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 6:50 pm
by Stefanussen
Hi Roy, thanks so much for your input regarding the multi-channeling. In either case, the 6 Definitive SM450s provide a much better sound. I'm hoping that the splitting up the divisions will provide a crisper and more realistic sound (eliminating the distortion caused by pushing too much out any one speaker).

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:49 pm
by Stefanussen
I just finished configuring the multi-channel setup. 3 pairs of stereo speakers.

1) Gt, Ped
2) Pos, noises
3) Swell

The sound is absolutely magnificent. I don't know what the landlords think, but the sound is very immersive and visceral. The balance seems quite different, I've noticed that melodies come out a lot more. I'm quite glad I didn't settle for 3x3 stereo!

Setup evolution

PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 1:50 pm
by swendello
Hello Rob,
The setup I am using sounds very much like yours, and also that of RoyKnight in this thread. There is one difference, however, I would like your comments about.

I am also using MacPro bootcamp/XP 64, and have my setup going into 6 dual channels thru an audiofire 12: GT, SW, CH, P, Highs, and a mix-down which goes thru the lexicaon 200 to a 5.1 home theater.

My dual channels are set up in a C/C# alternating note configuration, instead of using stereo channels. I am not very pleased with the whole sound effect. The sound is brash, "in your face", not pleasing and not real integrated. Have you ever used the C/C# configuration for sound output, and if so what led you to choose stereo? I was hoping that the alternating notes would help distribute the sound, but I can't tell much difference.

I realize it could be other factors, like the Organ sample I am using. But listening to your recent recording of the Final of the Vierne Symphone, I was amazed at the great sound.

I assume you used the Hauptwerk recording feature for the sound, so it did not employ your room audio system, so it may not be an appropriate cmparison. You'll probably tell me I should purchase the Metz Organ.
Thanks for any ideas.


PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:28 pm
by Stefanussen
I decided on this configuration based on some recommendations that Brett Milan gave me a while back. It really comes down to this. I'm in a pretty small room with absolutely zero acoustics of its own. Thus I have to rely entirely on the samples themselves to provide any spacial effects. By splitting 1 stereo pair into 3 stereo pairs, I'm spreading the sound sources out (which is good) and reducing distortion caused by trying to push too much out of a single speaker (also good.) Loading samples in stereo provides an important spacial effect in my opinion.

On the flip side, Darryl from Classic has suggested that I experiment with loading the sample in mono and trying some different split algorithms. Brett's take on this was that to make it effective, you need a lot more speakers spread out so that the sounds can mix in the air. I'm planning on experimenting with mono samples perhaps this weekend.

In any case, the sound as I have it right now is more than "good enough" for me. I'm sure I could get even more out of the stereo by tinkering with voicing and rank bass routing. But to tell the truth, I'm much more interested in playing the organ than tinkering with it.

The Final was recorded on my setup before the upgrades. It's using the built in HW recorder, so it's just straight stereo. The sample set is undoubtedly critical to what you're hearing. I won't just tell you to get the Metz, but I will say that I think it's pretty hard to go wrong with it.

setup evolution

PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:16 pm
by swendello
Appreciate all the info, Rob. Thanks so much for your input. I'm going ahead and setting up the stereo configuration on XP 64, and see what I find.
I also maintain an OS X installation on the Mac Pro, so I think I could keep this in the C/C# algorithm and make some comparisons. The one uncontrolled factor is the RAM limitation in OS X until the HW 64 bit version comes out, which is what keeps my attention more on the Windows side for now.
I'm inching along toward getting the Metz, and will probably be doing that before too long also. I'll let you know how things turn out.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:33 pm
by engrssc
Looks good, Rob, and appears to sound likewise. Simple question, what are you using for the table? How stable is it?


PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:41 pm
by Stefanussen
63" Galant table from IKEA. It has a good steel frame that you can't see in those pictures. The thing is rock solid, I've stood on it while hoisting the computer (Mac Pros are ridiculously heavy) onto it.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:21 pm
by engrssc
Yes on the heavy Mac Pro idea. Must use leaded aluminum.

Appears height of table is just about right. Do legs disassemble (sort of) as in for a portable/movable instrument? Our IKEA is an hour and 3/4 one way.


PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:39 am
by telemanr
To Rob Stefanussen,

What sound card are you using Rob?

Rob Enns

PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:56 am
by Stefanussen
Ed, The IKEA table disassembles quite nicely. The legs can also be adjusted to just the right height - 32.5" inches with a Classic Pedalboard.

Rob, I am using a Saffire LE. The analog outputs (1-6) are used for the studio monitors, and the digital outputs (7-8) are used for the sub woofer.