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Pistons for commonly-used HW functions

Building organ consoles for use with Hauptwerk, adding MIDI to existing consoles, obtaining parts, ...

Pistons for commonly-used HW functions

Postby dcaton » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:38 pm

In a few weeks I will be starting a VPO conversion of a console. I'm in the process or ordering the various pieces I will need, and I'd like to include physical controls for some of the often used functions in HW. I suppose the questions below could be answered by experimentation but I don't have any MIDI hardware yet, and I don't want to order engraved pistons for a function that can't be achieved via a MIDI input.

Combination action: I understand from another thread that it's possible to map controls to cycle through combination action levels. So I assume I would need "up", "down" and "load" buttons (along with a suitable LCD display to show the current level). What about "save"? Does HW auto-save to the current level when you press the "Set" button, like a traditional combination action, or will I need a "save" button as well? If so, is there any MIDI output generated by HW when the current config has not been saved, which could drive the lamp on a "save" button?

Sequencer: Is it possible to use the same piston to toggle between enter and leave capture mode, and if so, does HW have a midi output that follows the capture state which could be used drive a lighted "Capture On/Off" piston?

What else? Are there any often-used HW functions that would benefit from physical controls?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Pistons for commonly-used HW functions

Postby flydeltajets » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:55 pm

dcaton wrote:So I assume I would need "up", "down" and "load" buttons


A + & - piston would definitely be needed if you want to take advantage of the sequencer system. You don't necessarily need a "load" piston, unless you want "0" interaction with the Hauptwerk GUI...in that case a memory +/- piston would be advisable to toggle between memory sets. That said, Hauptwerk can be specified to load a specific set of combinations on startup.

dcaton wrote:along with a suitable LCD display to show the current level


The LCD would be useful for viewing the memory/sequencer level on the console, but again not completely necessary.

dcaton wrote:Does HW auto-save to the current level when you press the "Set" button, like a traditional combination action, or will I need a "save" button as well?


It can save via a set button. You can tell Hauptwerk to auto-save combinations on exit, that way your registrations are always saved the way you last used them.

dcaton wrote:If so, is there any MIDI output generated by HW when the current config has not been saved, which could drive the lamp on a "save" button?


You probably don't need/want a lamp for that function, but it could be implemented...with the right encoders/decoders, your console will mimic everything you see within the Hauptwerk GUI...i.e. if a piston lights up within Hauptwerk, it can provide a signal to drive a lamp/drawknob.

dcaton wrote:What else? Are there any often-used HW functions that would benefit from physical controls?


I have my console built so that it can be run independently from the GUI. My piston diagram is shown below. Basically, I run everything via the sequencer...I have the ability to use the +/- functions, but primarily I use it as a system of generals, treating each "100" level as a separate memory bank...i.e. I have 10 sets of 10 pistons available for a given combination file. The Divisionals will obviously remain static throughout the entire memory set, but that doesn't really bother me since I don't use them as frequently. I have reversibles for "important" stops, as well as a page-turner which can work with forscore or other programs by reading midi data from the PC.

I recommend you play around within Hauptwerk and decide which functions you want to be replicated via physical controls.

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Piston & Stud Layout I have a few pistons that aren't yet usable, in hopes of future enhancements.
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Re: Pistons for commonly-used HW functions

Postby magnaton » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:27 pm

dcaton wrote:I don't have any MIDI hardware yet, and I don't want to order engraved pistons for a function that can't be achieved via a MIDI input.

If you have a MIDI keyboard with more then 61 notes (i.e. a 73 or 88 note keyboard), you could experiment by assigning the extra keys before and after the standard 5 octave organ range as pseudo pistons so you can experiment with the functionality. The same holds true for the PC's QWERTY keyboard. Assign the top function keys (F1, F2, etc.) to a HW control to which a piston would serve as the same function.


dcaton wrote: Combination action: I understand from another thread that it's possible to map controls to cycle through combination action levels. So I assume I would need "up", "down" and "load" buttons (along with a suitable LCD display to show the current level).

If you bring up the Large or Mini Registration screen, you can right click on any of the gray buttons and assign them to a MIDI (piston) control. So "Yes" to your registration control questions. In addition, you can have up to 32 "favorite combinations" and any one of these can be loaded with with a single MIDI control button (piston). You can assign any number of these (up to 32) to their own piston. Yes, you can send your current memory level to an LCD display


dcaton wrote:What else? Are there any often-used HW functions that would benefit from physical controls?

Pistons engraved with "+", "-", and "0" can be used for advancing or setting a piston sequencer or a tranposer (up one semitone, down one semi tone, return to concert pitch). To future proof you build, maybe add some blank pistons or have them engraved with letters ("A", "B", "C"). Later you may discover a need for an assignable function and you'll have them.
Try browsing through the other organ manufactures websites and view pictures of their consoles to see what they have included in their pistons. You may see "Spfz" or "Tutti" which is full organ.
I have a control button that adds the Bass coupler to the Great manual. Frequently my kids want to try their piano music on my HW organ. They know to simply push that button rather than trying to remember how to set it via the software menus.
Finally like "favorite combinations" you can have "favorite organs" too. Same functionality, assign a button to load a particular organ.

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Re: Pistons for commonly-used HW functions

Postby dcaton » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:08 pm

flydeltajets wrote:A + & - piston would definitely be needed if you want to take advantage of the sequencer system. You don't necessarily need a "load" piston, unless you want "0" interaction with the Hauptwerk GUI...in that case a memory +/- piston would be advisable to toggle between memory sets.

For the sequencer, I'll have "Next" pistons on each rail plus a toe stud, and one "Prev" piston. The controls I'm talking about here would be mounted elsewhere. For example, I'll probably mount the combination action memory up / down / load pistons and lcd where the control panel for the existing combination action is.

Yes, my intent is to use the organ as much as possible without having to use the GUI. I'll need at least one monitor of course, but I'm hoping I can eventually figure out a way to build it into the console so it isn't seen unless needed.

I see you have Mem+ and Mem- buttons but no Save button. So any change that you make with the Set button will be saved automatically to the current memory level file when HW exits (as a standard combination action system would)?

What do the "Auto PED", "MEL" and "ALL ^" pistons do? Do you find the SEQ +10 and +100 buttons useful? I imagine if you wanted to start at a particular spot when practicing they might be.
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Re: Pistons for commonly-used HW functions

Postby dcaton » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:22 pm

magnaton wrote:The same holds true for the PC's QWERTY keyboard. Assign the top function keys (F1, F2, etc.) to a HW control to which a piston would serve as the same function.

I have no MIDI hardware whatsoever; I'm in the process of determining exactly what boards I need. I wasn't aware you could map F keys to HW functions, thanks for that tip. I should be able to experiment using that.

magnaton wrote:Try browsing through the other organ manufactures websites and view pictures of their consoles to see what they have included in their pistons.
.
I have (or will soon) a full compliment of the pistons you'd find on a large 4m console (Sfz, Tutti, rank and coupler reversibles, ventils, etc.). The new piston rails will closely match the originals they're replacing.

A set of "A", "B", etc. pistons sounds like a good idea though. Could always swap out the buttons if I wanted to change the engraving I suppose.
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Re: Pistons for commonly-used HW functions

Postby flydeltajets » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:32 pm

dcaton wrote:I see you have Mem+ and Mem- buttons but no Save button. So any change that you make with the Set button will be saved automatically to the current memory level file when HW exits (as a standard combination action system would)?


Correct. Those pistons increment the "Favorite Registration" via the shortcut in HW Registration menu, and everything saves automatically when you exit.

dcaton wrote:What do the "Auto PED", "MEL" and "ALL ^" pistons do?


Those are reversibles for the bass and melody couplers on each manual...i.e. "P Bass" and "IV Mel" master couplers, as appropriate. The All + piston isn't yet an implemented feature, but on some modern consoles, you can activate an "all pistons next" feature, meaning everything except "General Cancel" becomes a "+" piston until deactivated. You can then blindly hit any convenient piston or toe stud to cycle the sequencer.

dcaton wrote:Do you find the SEQ +10 and +100 buttons useful?


Since I treat each sub-level as its own "memory level" they're vital to my setup. For example, I may have a piece that starts on sequencer #400...I use those pistons to select "40X," and then General 1 brings up "401" and so forth.
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Re: Pistons for commonly-used HW functions

Postby dcaton » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:38 pm

flydeltajets wrote:The All + piston isn't yet an implemented feature, but on some modern consoles, you can activate an "all pistons next" feature, meaning everything except "General Cancel" becomes a "+" piston until deactivated. You can then blindly hit any convenient piston or toe stud to cycle the sequencer.

Ah, ok. Our organist said that the new console will have that. I imagine it could be useful.

It's not implemented yet because it isn't hooked up, or because it isn't available in HW yet? Is it a lighted piston, or do you have an indicator of some sort to know when it's enabled?
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Re: Pistons for commonly-used HW functions

Postby flydeltajets » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:47 pm

It's wired to the encoder, but not a program feature within Hauptwerk. I'm sure someone much smarter than me could come up with a side-code or ODF to make it work, but until then I don't use it.

If / when it becomes a feature, I'll make it light up while active.

*EDITED--addition below*

One other thing to mention...for my pistons that I have multiples of (i.e. Seq +) I have wired them together so as not to waste multiple MIDI inputs. Further, HW has a limit on the number of different switches that can control the same item (either 3 or 4 if memory serves).
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Re: Pistons for commonly-used HW functions

Postby mdyde » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:51 am

Hello Donald,

To add to others replies, I too would definitely advise thoroughly familiarising yourself with how Hauptwerk's combination system works before committing to any hardware plans. All of the available functions are on the 'Registration' menu in Hauptwerk, and the main/common functions are also duplicated on the 'Registration' large control panel ('View | Large control panels'). It's all covered in depth in the 'Registration menu: ...' sections in the user guide (pages 78-120 in the current v4.2.1 version), so please do have a good read through that.

In particular, the following sub-sections cover some of your main specific questions:

- 'Registration menu: programming and canceling registrations' (pages 81-82).
- 'Registration menu: combination sets' (pages 83-89).
- 'Registration menu: combination stepper (registration sequencer)' (pages 90-94).

Even if you don't yet yourself have any MIDI hardware at all, you could still learn the available functions, and how they work, by clicking on their virtual buttons on the 'Registration' large control panel, and/or by assigning them to computer keys. Any virtual buttons (except those that would require specific computer interaction, such as browsing for a file) can be assigned to to computer keys or MIDI pistons, and virtual buttons that light up can control lamps in MIDI pistons accordingly.

If possible, I would also recommend borrowing a MIDI keyboard (or even just getting a very cheap/second-hand one) as a temporary measure, so as to become as familiar as possible with it before starting work on your real console plans. (You could always sell a cheap MIDI keyboard again afterwards.)

Here are a few previous topics with thoughts on pistons to include on DIY consoles:

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=10005
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=10012
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9429
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=10496
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=12851

You could also try looking at DIY console conversions that other people have done in the 'Post photos of your Hauptwerk systems' section of the forum: viewforum.php?f=21
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Pistons for commonly-used HW functions

Postby dcaton » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:53 am

mdyde wrote:To add to others replies, I too would definitely advise thoroughly familiarising yourself with how Hauptwerk's combination system works before committing to any hardware plans. All of the available functions are on the 'Registration' menu in Hauptwerk, and the main/common functions are also duplicated on the 'Registration' large control panel ('View | Large control panels'). It's all covered in depth in the 'Registration menu: ...' sections in the user guide (pages 78-120 in the current v4.2.1 version), so please do have a good read through that.

Thanks, Martin. I did exactly that last night and am a little confused about something. On a typical organ, the Set piston must be held while another general or divisional piston is pressed in order to set it with the current registration.

In the HW interface (for St. Annes), the Set button is a toggle. I understand why, since you can't click on two things with the mouse at the same time.

Apparently, HW's "Set" is used to set generals and divisionals, as well as set the sequencer steps. For the first use, I'd want a piston that momentarily enabled "Set" while pressed. To set the sequencer use I'd want a second piston that toggled the "Set" (capture?) state on/off each time it was pressed, ideally a lighted piston that indicated the current state, same as how the on-screen button works. Is it possible to have both?

The "allow toggle" checkbox (I don't remember the exact wording) was always greyed out in the MIDI configuration for Set.
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Re: Pistons for commonly-used HW functions

Postby mdyde » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:15 pm

Hello Donald,

I did exactly that last night and am a little confused about something. On a typical organ, the Set piston must be held while another general or divisional piston is pressed in order to set it with the current registration.

In the HW interface (for St. Annes), the Set button is a toggle. I understand why, since you can't click on two things with the mouse at the same time.
...
The "allow toggle" checkbox (I don't remember the exact wording) was always greyed out in the MIDI configuration for Set.


As long as you're auto-detecting the virtual setter to a MIDI piston that supports 'stateful' MIDI messages (most commonly MIDI note-on/off) messages, then the 'toggle' option will be available, so you would have the option for the virtual setter being on only whilst the MIDI piston was held in. That's the way most people prefer to use it. (That isn't available when auto-detecting it to a computer key, though, which is why the option was greyed out in your test.)

Apparently, HW's "Set" is used to set generals and divisionals, as well as set the sequencer steps. For the first use, I'd want a piston that momentarily enabled "Set" while pressed. To set the sequencer use I'd want a second piston that toggled the "Set" (capture?) state on/off each time it was pressed, ideally a lighted piston that indicated the current state, same as how the on-screen button works. Is it possible to have both?


It's also possible to auto-detect any given virtual piston/button/switch to up to two separate MIDI pistons (by right-clicking on it, selecting 'Adjust MIDI/trigger settings manually ...', then using the 'Auto-detect' button on the setting screen's 'Primary Input' tab, then also on the 'Input 2' tab), and you could set the 'toggle' option differently in each case. Thus you could have one MIDI piston for which the setter was on only while the MIDI piston was held in, and another that toggled it.
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Pistons for commonly-used HW functions

Postby dcaton » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:13 pm

Martin: A few more questions about pistons...

Is it possible to configure a "Master Expression" (or All Swells to Swell) reversible, with indicator lamp? If so, it is also possible to have multiples, e.g. All Swells To Solo, All Swells to Crescendo, etc. to choose what shoe?

My organ has an antiphonal division, which plays on the solo manual. The stops that are under expression are also controlled by the solo shoe. Is it possible to configure the shoe dynamically, e.g. "Ant Exp Solo", "Ant Exp Swell", "Ant Exp Cres"?

Not near my HW computer at the moment. Do divisional pistons also affect divisional couplers? Generally not but our new console has toggles to turn that on/off by division. Possible in HW?

I know it's possible to create custom switches and boolean logic in a full organ definition. Is it possible to trigger these things via a MIDI input, and track the states via a MIDI output, thereby creating pistons that do complex things?

Finally, what is scope mode? Can't find anything in the docs or in the forum about this. St. Anne's has a toggle for it but I can't figure out what it does.

Thanks.
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Re: Pistons for commonly-used HW functions

Postby dcaton » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:14 pm

Martin:

re: "I know it's possible to create custom switches and boolean logic in a full organ definition. Is it possible to trigger these things via a MIDI input..."

Never mind on this one, I think I've found the answer in CreatingSampleSetsForHauptwerk.pdf
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Re: Pistons for commonly-used HW functions

Postby flydeltajets » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:21 pm

All Swells, to my understanding, can be programmed in the ODF, but isn’t a feature of available by default. Mine is simply a reversible installed for future-proofing. You can use the various floating manuals configurations to change the expression pedal inputs as you described.

Scope mode defines what a piston is capable of controlling...you press scope, and select all couplers, drawknobs, etc, that you want it to control, and select the piston that you want to change. You can then set a registration, etc on that piston. Thus, by using Scope, you could make divisional piston also control divisional couplers as you described, although that is not a standard practice in organbuilding.

For your other questions, I’m sure there is some software out there to go “between” the console & Hauptwerk to execute complex commands via MIDI signal as you described, but I don’t have experience with it.
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Re: Pistons for commonly-used HW functions

Postby mdyde » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:50 pm

Hello Donald,

dcaton wrote:Is it possible to configure a "Master Expression" (or All Swells to Swell) reversible, with indicator lamp? If so, it is also possible to have multiples, e.g. All Swells To Solo, All Swells to Crescendo, etc. to choose what shoe?

My organ has an antiphonal division, which plays on the solo manual. The stops that are under expression are also controlled by the solo shoe. Is it possible to configure the shoe dynamically, e.g. "Ant Exp Solo", "Ant Exp Swell", "Ant Exp Cres"?


It's possible for a sample set producer to implement those things within an organ definition, but I'm not aware of any sample sets that have that functionality currently.

dcaton wrote:Not near my HW computer at the moment. Do divisional pistons also affect divisional couplers? Generally not but our new console has toggles to turn that on/off by division. Possible in HW?


That, too, is up to the sample set producer. In the (real and virtual) St. Anne's the divisional couplers do affect the divisional couplers for the division.

You can alternatively set up Hauptwerk's Master Scoped combinations to act as divisionals, with whatever scopes you like. The 'Registration menu: master scoped combinations' section in the user guide (pages 101-105) covers them.

dcaton wrote:Finally, what is scope mode? Can't find anything in the docs or in the forum about this. St. Anne's has a toggle for it but I can't figure out what it does.


That's covered in the 'Registration menu: master scoped combinations' user guide section too.

dcaton wrote:I know it's possible to create custom switches and boolean logic in a full organ definition. Is it possible to trigger these things via a MIDI input, and track the states via a MIDI output, thereby creating pistons that do complex things?
...
re: "I know it's possible to create custom switches and boolean logic in a full organ definition. Is it possible to trigger these things via a MIDI input..."

Never mind on this one, I think I've found the answer in CreatingSampleSetsForHauptwerk.pdf


Yes -- it's possible to implement any kind of complex logic within the 'full' organ definition format if you create your own organ definitions. (However, please bear in mind that we don't provide support for it, and it's very complex in general.)
Best regards,
Martin.

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