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Hauptwerk @ AGO 2010!

A discussion forum for anything even marginally Hauptwerk-related.

Re: Hauptwerk @ AGO 2010!

Postby telemanr » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:58 pm

Surely all the superb organists, and there are many, didn't all practise on a tracker organ.
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Re: Hauptwerk @ AGO 2010!

Postby Antoni Scott » Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:52 am

Interesting thread.

Around 1970, Allen introduced the "Digital Computer Organ", which was followed quickly by all the other electronic organ builders . Although expectations were high, in reality, they were disappointing. Variations of sound production included "sampling" , a supposed "exact copy" of the original pipe. But something was missing in this, too. There were obviously different levels of sampling that led to different levels of realism. Some reeds were good, some were not. The Mixtures, especially , were lacking in brilliance.

I think what the biggest downside to all the digital organs of their time, was that they stubbornly stuck with a dry, boring American Classic sound and specification. In the late 90's Allen introduced a two manual "French Concept" which I played and was impressed with. Interestingly, this concept organ quickly disappeared and was replaced with a huge three manual version that did not sound as good as the two manual version. What was going on ?

In my opinion, digital organ builders (excluding Hauptwerk and M&O) have had their chance to make a difference and squandered every opportunity to do so. Hauptwerk offers the choice of dozens of organs, all from the same console, with little inconvenience if you can put up with the unorthodox computer monitor screen,etc. There are differences in the way the "wet" recordings are recorded. Microphone placement seems to be the biggest difference. Surround recordings seem to be gaining acceptance and add further to the realism.

I like the idea of being able to get on my magic carpet and fly around the world visiting different churches and cathedrals all from the comfort of my home. To have an organ along with it's cathedral acoustics in your home is the only way to go, in my opinion.
The rapid acceptance of Hauptwerk, I am sure is not going unnoticed by either Allen or Rogers.

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Re: Hauptwerk @ AGO 2010!

Postby pat17 » Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:10 am

ajt wrote:Depends on what you buy. I was offered, and failed to ever follow up on it, a little (and I mean little) Willis 4 stop organ; 8/8 4/16(stopped) for £500. It was no bigger than my Hauptwerk console, although a bit taller. Everything easily maintainable from the front/side, and would have been a doddle to maintain. All wooden flutes, so unlikely to need much tuning, and a very simple mechanical action. A well made mechanical action can be easily kept running smoothly for many many many years. I've known some that have been practically untouched since the day they were installed in 1890, except for the addition of an electric blower. This little organ was also nice and quiet; not as quiet as headphones, but certainly quieter than my piano.


Sorry you couldn't seize that opportunity,especially as it is the kind that doesn't occur often.. And this is the point - how many of us did have that possibility?

If you want a 3m with a bundle of reeds built to your own specification, then yes, your points above are spot on, but if you're serious about learning technique and just practising, then an organ as per my Willis example above would suit very well indeed.

If, however, you're like me, and enjoy playing and like the noise that a big organ makes, then Hauptwerk is the toy for you :D


You've got a point. But IMHO, it's not just the question of getting a big noise. It's also having a nice noise. I do love personally the marvelous sound of Dutch baroque organs, and should there not be any solution like Hauptwerk, I do not know how I could (pretend to) play such wonderful instruments...
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Re: Hauptwerk @ AGO 2010!

Postby ajt » Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:41 am

pat17 wrote:You've got a point. But IMHO, it's not just the question of getting a big noise. It's also having a nice noise. I do love personally the marvelous sound of Dutch baroque organs, and should there not be any solution like Hauptwerk, I do not know how I could (pretend to) play such wonderful instruments...


Agreed - a nice noise is the key. The Copeman Hart I play at church every week makes a big noise. But it is just a noise, no beauty, no presence.

To telemanr: I'm sure you're right, not all what some people perceive as great organists practice on tracker instruments, but as the organ world has different tastes in organs, so does it have different tastes in organists. I've not encountered all the good organists in the world for sure, but the ones I regard highly are proponents of real instruments. I'm not a tracker action snob - in fact I prefer a good e-p action - but I do believe that to really master the playing technique you need to play them. You can learn the harpsichord on a keyboard of any sort (that may sound like a harpsichord), but the skill of the harpsichord player (and the organist) comes in learning to control not the attack of each note, but the release. I could be in the minority in that belief; I'm also of the belief that the most important part of music is the space that you give the notes/music.
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Re: Hauptwerk @ AGO 2010!

Postby chorn » Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:56 am

telemanr wrote:Surely all the superb organists, and there are many, didn't all practise on a tracker organ.

That's what I was thinking.

I'm not one of those superb organists, unfortunately - can't blame it on a lack of tracker action, just on my own limitations - but when I used to play real organs (decades ago) they were nearly all electric action.

I played on just a few that had mechanical action. One was a single manual organ with only a few stops; I used to practice on it a couple of times a week, but only because it was less than five minutes walk from where I was living as a student. For a while it was interesting to work out how to get more variety into the sound than had seemed possible at first, but, if that organ had been swapped around with one of the electric action organs that I practiced on every week, well, I don't think I'd have taken the trouble to cycle to it through 15 mins of freezing cold wind and rain, like I would to get to the big electric-action ones.

I remember dabbling for a while on two or three other organs with mechanical action, and being dismayed by how heavy the action could become - each added stop making it harder to press the keys - and the Swell to Great coupler made the keys very "stiff" to press - for me the heaviness of the action pretty well ruled out playing anything fast. Perhaps some of the organists that played those organs a lot would learn to cope with the stiff and heavy action(?) - though most of the resident organists I came across (when I was hunting for organs to play) played to a rather low standard. Also, I didn't experience the subtlety in touch that I'd read about, which was supposed to enable you to alter the way the pipes spoke by adjusting the way you pressed the keys. Overall, a big disappointment.

Judging by the enthusiasm I've seen on this forum for tracker-action organs, I've generally assumed that their features that people like create a playing experience that's nothing like my experience of those old and stiff mechanical-action organs. Or am I wrong?
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Re: Hauptwerk @ AGO 2010!

Postby engrssc » Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:28 am

Off on a slightly different tangent. I started my musical "career" studying piano per the wishes of my parents (who were paying the bill) plus some other respected musicians known to the family. The first practice piano was a big and old upright (that had beautiful tone). Later, my dad decided to get a smaller spinet. While "prettier", nothing I could do could make that spinet sound as good as the old upright. And the touch was different.

Later in high school, I became accompanist to the (very excellent) school choir. Here I became "acquainted" with a gorgeous full Steinway. Again a different touch, but, oh, what an amount of "feeling" you could put into that instrument. Like none other of my previous piano experiences and certainly worlds apart from what is so common today, a keyboard (even with weighted action).

Even tho we've wondered a bit off the given topic of this post, it has been interesting to say the least.

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Re: Hauptwerk @ AGO 2010!

Postby ajt » Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:54 am

chorn wrote:[
Judging by the enthusiasm I've seen on this forum for tracker-action organs, I've generally assumed that their features that people like create a playing experience that's nothing like my experience of those old and stiff mechanical-action organs.


As with any action, there are good and bad. A tracker action, even on a large instrument, doesn't have to be heavy. Some of them are, some of them aren't. An organ I know fairly locally (in Salisbury) was a fairly heavy and clunky beast to play, until they changed organ tuner. The new chap came along and just tweaked the action, and now it's a delight to play. No major work necessary, just someone who was prepared to spend some time and effort and who really understood the action.

I apologise for pulling this thread down a tangent - it wasn't meant to be a "tracker is best" rant. It was merely a response to someone's comment that some organists look down their noses at conventional digital organs for practice instruments; I can completely understand why, because they don't allow you to learn that touch that real organs do. Personally I believe that tracker is a noble aim, but if you present an organist with two consoles for the same instrument, one electric, one tracker, the chances are that many would choose the electric. As indeed they do at Christchurch Priory where both consoles are on offer. They'll choose it because it's easier, but probably mutter something about the tracker console being more intimate or in touch with the organ.
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Re: Hauptwerk @ AGO 2010!

Postby PeterB » Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:14 am

[quote="ajt"][quote="pat17"]
...the skill of the [organist] comes in learning to control not the attack of each note, but the release./quote]

This can't be stressed enough. A proficient organist pays just as much attention to the releases — if not more — as to the attacks. Only tracker organs can teach you how to shape the sound in this way. The difference between an abrupt release and a soft one in lyrical music is simply astounding.

For this reason, one of the future steps in creating even better virtual sample sets should, in my opinion, be the sampling not only of different attacks, but also of different release velocities. This will of course require velocity sensitive keyboards (many already are), and it will also increase RAM requirements (since there will in effect be a matrix of length/velocity release mappings for each note), but the realism gained is quite remarkable even with just two different release velocity samples per length.
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Re: Hauptwerk @ AGO 2010!

Postby ajt » Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:29 am

PeterB wrote:For this reason, one of the future steps in creating even better virtual sample sets should, in my opinion, be the sampling not only of different attacks, but also of different release velocities. This will of course require velocity sensitive keyboards (many already are), and it will also increase RAM requirements (since there will in effect be a matrix of length/velocity release mappings for each note), but the realism gained is quite remarkable even with just two different release velocity samples per length.



Are there any velocity sensitive samplesets out there? I assume that the 2nd touch on some of the theatre organ sets can work through velocity sensitivity, but what about classical sets?
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Re: Hauptwerk @ AGO 2010!

Postby chorn » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:29 am

PeterB wrote:one of the future steps in creating even better virtual sample sets should, in my opinion, be the sampling not only of different attacks, but also of different release velocities. This will of course require velocity sensitive keyboards (many already are)

Are there many keyboards that provide note-off velocity, now? ( MIDI keyboards in general, and organ manuals, in particular.) IIRC, that used to be quite unusual (along with polyphonic aftertouch).
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Re: Hauptwerk @ AGO 2010!

Postby RoyKnight » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:46 pm

Years ago I served as organist for a church in Charleston that had a new 3-manual Holtkamp Tracker organ. During my tenure in this position, my technique and musicality was at its highest. I don't know why this was - specifically whether or not it was the tracker action or just the amount of time I was allowed to practice on the instrument. This I do know - since it was a fairly light and sensitive tracker action, playing and practicing was a joy because of the sense that I was actually controlling the attack and release; rather than just "switching" notes on and off by depressing and releasing keys. Because of that, I practiced several hours every day - because it was exhilarating! Playing a nice tracker is indescribable - similar to playing a nice harpsichord with a firm plectra.

Even with the many wonderful Hauptwerk samples that continue to be released, I am still hoping for a nice Holtkamp instrument. I know - some people are NEVER satisfied.

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Re: Hauptwerk @ AGO 2010!

Postby B. Milan » Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:01 pm

Are there any velocity sensitive samplesets out there? I assume that the 2nd touch on some of the theatre organ sets can work through velocity sensitivity, but what about classical sets?


Yes, many of the classical sets feature velocity keying for note attacks. Generally this only applies to the tracker style organs. Hauptwerk allows the attack to be affected determined by how fast or slow a key is depressed. All of the MDA baroque sets feature this (to some degree but not in an excessive amount) and many others do as well, it is up to the sample producer as to whether or not it is included as part of the organ definition file.
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Re: Hauptwerk @ AGO 2010!

Postby ajt » Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:17 pm

Useful info, thanks Brett. Presumably this is attack only, not release? (I hadn't thought about it before, but I'm fairly sure my keyboards only send velocity data on note on only)
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Re: Hauptwerk @ AGO 2010!

Postby B. Milan » Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:05 pm

ajt wrote:Useful info, thanks Brett. Presumably this is attack only, not release? (I hadn't thought about it before, but I'm fairly sure my keyboards only send velocity data on note on only)


Hauptwerk allows for release velocity as well, however the lack of mainstream MIDI keyboards with velocity support on note off messages so far has prevented anyone from using this feature to date as far as I am aware.
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Re: Hauptwerk @ AGO 2010!

Postby B. Milan » Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:03 am

Here are some of the new features that we demonstrated at the AGO convention with Hauptwerk 4.

Three things to keep in mind about our goals for Hauptwerk 4...usability, usability, usability.

Please note that the following list is by no means all of the new enhancements added for Hauptwerk 4, rather they represent only a handful of the new enhancements, most of them more of the visual settings rather than the many new menu options and other internal enhancements which are numerous.

Also we won't be able to divulge further enhancements at this time or expand on the explanations provided below since we need to focus on continuing on Hauptwerk 4 itself (and Salisbury). We hope that the following will give you some helpful information about some of the new forthcoming features.

Here is a link to the booklet in PDF format which is meant as a simple overview and not an in depth look at the complete features of Hauptwerk 4.

Hauptwerk 4 Informational Booklet

A bit of information about some of the items listed in the PDF...

MIDI Learn.

Full 'MIDI learn' (automatic detection and configuration of MIDI settings) for all virtual keyboards, draw-knobs/tabs, pistons, expression pedals, direct ranks, for all supported MIDI implementations. Also works for computer keys. You will not need to know any MIDI messages from your hardware nor will you need to configure any switch/keyboard/expression pedal settings or map them to the virtual controls. Hauptwerk automatically detects the incoming MIDI signal and maps it for you in a matter of a couple mouse clicks. If required detailed MIDI settings screens are also available via the menu too for hand configuration/tweaking.

Control Panels:

Four main floating control panels ('Audio, MIDI and Performance', 'Registration', 'Pitch', 'Recorder/player') allow full real-time access to all main Hauptwerk functions and associated information, together in logical groupings. This makes it very easy and quick to see and learn how all of the functionality relates and is used.

Audio, MIDI and Performance.
AudioMIDIPerformance.png

Real-time diagnostic virtual LED indicators on control panels, status bar and all MIDI settings screens. These make diagnosing any MIDI configuration issues very quick and easy.

Real-time audio level, polyphony, CPU and memory meters. If you have a performance problem you should be able to see instantly what's causing it (a meter will go into the red) and how to correct it. They also show clip indicators so that you can see if a problem occurred when recording.

Polyphony limit adjustable in real-time. You can watch the polyphony meter as you play and fine-tune the limit accordingly, separately for each organ.

Overall volume adjustments (fader) can be controlled in real-time from MIDI expression pedals/knobs and/or a touch-screen.

Registration.
Registration.png

999-frame full random-access combination stepper replaces and extends Hauptwerk 3 registration sequencer (existing v3 combination file migrated automatically).

20 new 'master general' combinations, independent of any combinations a sample set may include.

60 new 'master scoped' (=ranged) combinations, independent of any combinations a sample set may include. You can set these up to affect whichever draw-knobs/tabs you like, e.g. (most commonly) as divisionals or special functions such as 'all trems off'.

Pitch.
CP-Pitch.png

Temperaments now remembered independently for each organ.

Overall organ pitch now adjustable independently from the temperament and temperaments no longer affect organ pitch. Also remembered separately for each organ.

Overall pitch can be controlled in real-time from MIDI expression pedals/knobs and/or a touch-screen.

Native MIDI Recorder/player.
CP-Recorder-Player.png

Uses standard MIDI file format (.mid) and records/plays registration (stop/coupler/tremulant) changes directly, so it's completely independent of any MIDI hardware/settings and independent of the combination system. Thus MIDI files can be exchanged with any other users of the sample set and will play perfectly, regardless of their settings or combination files. Its MIDI streams can also be re-directed to/from a MIDI sequencer if you have one, for convenience of editing on the fly.

Mini Control Panels.

Lots of floatable/dockable 'mini control panels' also give access to all Hauptwerk functions, but because they're small and contain just specific small functional groups you can pick just the functions you regularly use to save touch-screen space.

Quick access configuration via right-click.

Right-click on virtual controls to configure MIDI input/output (via MIDI learn and/or manual configuration), access voicing screen for a rank which opens that rank directly in voicing screen... other right click options.

Piston Toolbars.
piston-toolbar.png

User-customizable docakable/floatable piston toolbars allow access to all relevant Hauptwerk functions. Up to 4 toolbars per console window (Advanced Edition; only 1 for the Basic and Free Editions), with 16 pistons on each. Right-click to assign functions via MIDI learn or manually. Change size and/or horizontal/vertical orientation.

VST and Audio Units Link.
vst-link.png
vst-link.png (15.26 KiB) Viewed 6212 times

VSTi replaced with 'Hauptwerk VST Link' on Windows/PCs. Hauptwerk now runs outside of your VST host/sequencer and you just load the 'Hauptwerk VST Link' in your sequencer.

Very easy to use and configure: in Hauptwerk you can just select the link for audio output (you can optionally also select it for sequencer MIDI input/output). You no longer need any separate MIDI settings for sequencing, and no longer need to route MIDI from your MIDI console through the VST host. MIDI from your console goes directly to Hauptwerk.

Makes it especially easy to apply real-time reverb/convolution: just select the 'Hauptwerk VST Link' entry as the audio output for Hauptwerk, then load the 'Hauptwerk VST Link' plug-in and a reverb/convolver plug-in in your VST host.

Link can work across 32-bit/64-bit boundaries, so you can now use 64-bit Hauptwerk with any 32-bit VST sequencer and with 32-bit convolvers.

VST host should no longer significantly determine/limit Hauptwerk's performance.
audiounits-link.png

Equivalent 'Hauptwerk VST/AU Link' on Mac platform. Works with both VST (e.g. Cubase) and AudioUnit (e.g. Logic) hosts, thus giving full plug-in functionality on the Mac platform as well as on the PC. (Note: most AU hosts, including Logic, don't allow MIDI from a plug-in, so you might prefer to use VST with the OS X versions of Cubase, Reaper or similar on the Mac platform.)

Dynamic console resizing.

Virtual consoles automatically zoom by default to fit window sizes (preserving aspect ratios, so that circular draw-knobs remain circular, etc.). Zoom can also be disabled in which case virtual consoles can be scrolled if they don't fit in the windows.

That pretty much covers the new features that were shown at the AGO convention and that were included in the promo booklet. Again, there are several more very important/functional enhancements that we plan to announce along with the release of Hauptwerk 4.

We hope you like some of these new upcoming features!
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