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Organ sample set prices

A discussion forum for anything even marginally Hauptwerk-related.
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Organ sample set prices

PostMon Sep 01, 2003 9:40 am

Hello everybody,

after receiving some very rude comments on the prices of sample CDs, I would like to state the following:

I think, a lot of (prospective) customers have no ideas, what sampling of famous historical organs really means. First getting access to those instruments at all, endless acquisition and discussions with church communities, the travels through Europe, endless night sessions of recording in noisy ambience, fighting against car noises, storm, rain, endless hours of processing the sounds, top prices of top professional equipment and so on! You will be able to play a Silbermann organ at home for example, in a quality, that no electronic organ (or even a small home pipe organ) could ever give you! Only a few of people will ever have the chance, to play such famous instruments live! Church communities will have a benefit for getting donations from these organs.If you buy a lousy electronic organ expander with ridicolous sounds, you have to pay 1000 Euro and more and will have only one fixed instrument!! With the Hauptwerk system you will be able to play a lot of different organs etc.

The prices for Hauptwerk organs are not a all comparable to prices of convenient software, which are distributed in thousands or millions of copies. The number of Hauptwerk sample CD copies, which could be sold, is very low (perhaps too low)! A lot of my absolutely satisfied customers gave me a feedback, that they are happy, to have the chance of playing such wonderful instruments at all.

So, people which realize what they are getting and what they will be able to do with, will be ready to pay a even much higher price for those precious instruments.

Feedback welcome!
Prof. Helmut Maier
OrganArt Media Sound Engineering
D-88662 Überlingen/Lake Constance
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PostTue Sep 02, 2003 3:38 am

Dear Helmut,
you are absolutely right. In our country (Czech republic) the living standards are much lower compared to Germany - so the prices for everything are also lower. For this reason only I am able to offer a comparable quality at much lower price. If I lived in the Germany like you I think my prices would be exactly the same.
The amount of the work spent on the samples (especially fighting down the noise of the environment on the place itself and afterwards) is ENORMOUS and has to be paid back in some way. Moreover there is always a need to support the real instrument from the money you get from customers. This is for me a number one. I appreciate your work very much and I hope my sample sets are inspired by your suggestions and are of the very similar quality as yours. Please, continue your very good work and do not listen to the unkind people! Look at my homepage at



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PostWed Sep 10, 2003 11:03 pm

It might be impossible to precisely quantify the value of Hauptwerk sample libraries compared to electronic organ available from the major manufacturers or compared to real pipe organs, but here are some thoughts about the comparison. Hauptwerk samples are certainly of the same quality as the sounds produced by modern electronic organs, and the libraries cost a small fraction of these electronic organs. The experience of playing a hauptwerk organ into good headphones is not as good as playing a real pipe organ, but is certainly a tenth as good, and it costs less than a thousandth the price of a real pipe organ. Although I cannot currently afford to buy all the available libraries, I think even the highest priced ones are extremely cheap by any measure. I would rather purchase the libraries gradually over time, than to have the price point so low that recordists are not motivated to start new projects.
Scott Duncan

Robert Burns


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Fair Price

PostFri Sep 12, 2003 12:01 am

Dear Helmut,
As you know I have purchased your set of samples for the Silbermann organ and you and I have corresponded privately since. Firstly I am a retired electonics engineer and have also worked as a pipe organ building apprentice in the UK. I grew up with a great fondness for the organ and have made a few pathetic attempts to design and build one for my own home. I even owned a two manual Allen at one time which I was not happy with. I was convinced I would never be able to afford anything that would come close to a real organ and along came "Hauptwerk" and I don't have to remind you what an incredible program this is, on top of it the software is open ended where one can add any voices, or organ samples they wish. I don't know of any top end electronic organ that has this flexability and even if there is I am certain one would pay more than 300 euros for a complete new set of stops. Anyway I am going on, but I just want to say I support you, your work and 300 euros to me is a very small sum of money to pay for the years of enjoyment I will receive from your efforts. No one forced me to buy your samples, I did so of my own free will. I hope you don't get anymore rude remarks, I would hate to see people like yourself getting discouraged. BTW I also purchased Brett Milan's Silbermann set, so I am going to have two very beautiful organs in my home for less than 600 euros. :D Cheers, Robert.

Charles Braund


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PostSat Jan 17, 2004 7:18 pm

Dear Helmut,

I entirely agree with the thread of this topic and I'm sure that Martin does as well.

The problem is that everyone these days seems to want everything for nothing. Apart from the cost of the equipment needed to capture the organ samples (I'm just about to spend several hundred pounds on a couple of new microphones plus a couple of other items), it is often necessary to pay for the use of the organ as already stated elsewhere. Many town halls currently charge several hundred pounds per day and even some churches will levy a fee.

There is of course absolutely no guarantee that the samples painstakingly recorded will be usable in the first place and thus it is money and time which is totally wasted and can never be recompensed in any way.

Once the samples have reached home, there follows many months of work to make them acceptable for use in a sample playing context.

Ask any of the would be complainers how much they are prepared to work for (if they actually work) and they will probably reply that they wouldn't get out of bed for less than XYZ. However, they expect us to work for what usually amounts to pennies per hour yet they will still complain that they are being ripped off.

None of us in this specialist business are like Microsoft, Adobe etc. who will force sell their products into a "no choice" market, we have to rely on a very select number of end users and the end rewards are not great.
As Michiel Post once said to me "Don't expect to be able to earn a decent living out of this"

Thank God that there are some people who realise the value of what is being done here. If they were not in existence, then the world would be a sorrier place.

Of course, there is a finite price that one can charge which can never fully recompense one for the work done but for someone to complain about the cost of a stop being just a few pounds or dollars is really being churlish. If the end result was crap, then they might have some justification but the majority of libraries offered are of excellent quality.

But then perhaps, they rely on the state to support and pay for them to sit on their arses all day doing nothing. It's time they joined the real world.
Quote "Why spoil a perfectly good digital organ with real pipes" ?

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