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Dry samples against wet samples

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Dry samples against wet samples

PostThu Jan 06, 2005 7:15 am


I think, there is a lot of confusion about dry and wet recordings.
Actually, due to the great chances of Hauptwerk, we now have two total different approaches concerning organs:

I) The non room based electronic church organ approach
II) The room based authentic (historical) organ approach

Both approaches have their very special own characteristics and advantages/disadvantages. The following contribution shall discuss several aspects.

Users like to have the ability of combining different stops, experimenting with stops, looking for the ideal stop sound, perhaps altering sounds, morphing sounds etc. That’s a legal aspect of using the new chances of Hauptwerk, but requires absolutely dry samples. Samples could be mono, be virtually positioned in the room by panning, multiple channel playback etc. That’s a new form of (electronic) organ building, producing much better sounds, than actually available by all digital organ manufacturers. It’s only a matter of time, until those companies will also detect the chances of software based solutions, perhaps will also use the Hauptwerk software! But all these organs stay artificial (digital) electronic organs; need their own room or special reverberation units, to be played. Adding reverberation by using impulse response can produce interesting virtually room impressions but can never reproduce an original room sound. A room has an infinite number of impulse responses; every pipe in its localization has its own impulse response! The impulse response (convolution) reverberation can produce much better room sounds than conventional reverberation systems, but never can simulate exactly the real behaviour of an organ in a given room.

In my opinion, the electronic organ design approach could produce better sounds but perhaps again boringly instruments, as can even be heard by a lot of modern pipe organs!

The great pipe organ on the other hand is unfortunately one of the most inflexible instruments. Eliminating too much of irregularities always produces an electronic like sound. I now have over 30 years of experience in (digital) organs and know, how small the borderline between authentic and electronic organ sound very often is, due to audio psychological effects!
So implementing wind behaviour is necessary, to overcome the static sounds of digital organs. The pipe organ builder speaks of the “breathing organ”. Everybody who ever has observed the action of the organ bellow, when the organ is played, knows what I mean. Simulating wind behaviour on pipe basis is one of the incredible benefits of Martin Dydes Hauptwerk software, as far as I know unique in the digital organ world. That doesn’t mean, having to simulate the very instable wind of historical organs for new ones!

The authentically organ documentation approach (OrganART etc.) aims to reproduce (historical) organs with a maximum of authenticity, thus needs the original room, in which the organ is installed, needs special recording and processing techniques for capturing the original room sound. Original room sound doesn’t mean only reverberation, but room impression, hearing room width, height, depth, thus means that only playing with studio headphones or perhaps near field monitors really reproduces the original room. That’s also one of the reasons, why such organs are absolutely unsuitable for installing it into church rooms, unsuitable for mixing different stops etc.
These recordings need wet stereo samples, therefore need much more main memory and processing power. One of the great benefits of Martin Dydes Hauptwerk software is the chance, now being able to record and implement most of those features of real (historical) organs. Features, like wind behaviour is absolutely necessary, to realize such authentic organ documents. The stated problems of the release behaviour will mostly be solved with HW2.

So everybody can look for his special preferences, perhaps joining both of the organ approaches, why not! That’s what Hauptwerk is able to provide, but don’t mix up the different aspects!
Prof. Helmut Maier
OrganArt Media Sound Engineering
D-88662 Überlingen/Lake Constance

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