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Coming together!

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

Coming together!

Postby Organorak » Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:13 pm

After months of planning and design I'm finally putting together my dream console. As so many forum members are so helpful in sharing advice and suggestions I hope I can repeat the favour and give a little inspiration to others who might yet be contemplating something similar.

The ultimate goal is to have a four manual console with four Fatar TP60 keyboards, twin 1920x1080 resolution touchscreens, a central digital music monitor, two expression pedals and decorative feature towers either side that conceal the speakers behind a row of dummy pipes.

So far the computer has arrived (24GB i7 with twin hard drives configured as RAID-0), plus the monitors, a rather nice solid oak pedalboard and bench from an old Compton electronic organ, and the keyboards. Here's my first mock-up of the touchscreens - I designed the user interface myself using j-organ to control Hauptwerk.

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Next up was the construction of a desk using oak veneered MDF:
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Biggest headache was always going to be the construction of the keycheeks since I had no idea prior to starting how I should go about hollowing out the wood. In fact I live next door to a friendly joiner's firm, and they very kindly allowed me to pop in to use their mortiser, plane and sander to ensure that the keycheeks are all identical dimensions. This is critical to having an attractive and stable set of keyboards. For those not familiar with such things, a mortiser is very like a large mounted drill, the essential differences being that the item you drill into can be moved side to side and forward and backwards, and the drill itself punches square holes rather than round. Really handy tool, I'm surprised how much hassle it saved me.

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The profile of the Fatar keyboards differs slightly on either side, hence why the left hand side requires a slightly different profile.
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Then (being very careful to ensure holes were only drilled in the concealed parts of the keycheeks) I lined up each keycheek using the same spacer, cut to the exact length of the keyboard overhang (60mm high by 110mm deep) and drilled from lower to higher in order to securely stack the keyboards. Conversely the keyboards themselves screw into the keyboard that they sit on, rather than into the keycheeks adjacent to them.

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Here's my first attempt at aligning the keyboards - already it's starting to look like an organ!

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And then it all has to come apart again to insert the thumbrails where the pistons will go...and be reassembled to ensure it fits...and be taken apart to be stained, and reassembled again...

Next off is the mount for the touch screen monitors. It's a simple pine frame, with a hinged back to all;ow the monitor to be removed easily. You can't see the front panel yet, which is a thin panel of oak veneered MDF with a hole cut the exact size of the monitor (HP 2310ti).

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More details to follow!
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Re: Coming together!

Postby OPUS1883 » Tue Dec 21, 2010 3:36 am

Looks really good ! look forward to seeing the finished product !

Chris
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Re: Coming together!

Postby Organorak » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:27 am

Progress has been a bit slow and I couldn't do much out in a freezing workshop when it was bitterly cold but I do have a few more photos to share. First off the piston rails:

They are drilled all the way through with a 16mm bit then from the other side a 25mm bit comes to within 3mm of the front to allow the large washer with the thumb pistons to fit. The top is strengthened with a strip of oak veneer, on which will rest a roll of felt once the piston rails have been stained. They are further strengthened by a horizonal strip of MDF on which will run the cabling in due course. For now I am just trialling them for size with the keyboards; the keyboards will need to be removed to allow the oak to be stained.

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The two touchscreens fit into the jambs and the rear part of these hinges to allow them to be removed:

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The jambs and associated framework is screwed in from underneath to avoid any visible screws:

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Here's the front just before the digital monitor goes in:

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I ran a wide plank of MDF along the back, onto which I fastened a 26 inch monitor which is mounted at 15 degrees via a conventional VESA wall mounting. I used large G-clamps to hold the MDF whilst I jacked up the MDF into place at the right hiehgt above the Solo, before screwing it in place:

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And finally the pedals and bench are added, allowing me the chance to sit at the console and decide exactly how far the pedals go back:

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Finally it's beginning to look like a proper console! To be continued...
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Re: Coming together!

Postby pat17 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:52 pm

It's a really nice work... I love that "en fenêtre" style you have chosen for your console! 8)

Hopefully you will be able to enjoy the result of your work soon!
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Re: Coming together!

Postby polikimre » Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:17 am

It really starts to take shape. A word of caution: make sure you can move it into your house, check doorways, corridors, turns. Think before you glue.
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Re: Coming together!

Postby Organorak » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:47 am

The "getting through the door" is not a trivial matter for me. It replaces a 3 manual Johannus that I carefully measured as being 73.5 cm at the widest part. My door I measured at 74cm...but not at the same level. When the organ arrived, the part of the doorframe level with the widest part of the organ was 73.3cm. Ouch.

Despite being four manuals, the console is pretty slim - less than 70cm. There will be eventually a couple of bolt-on side "towers" that come a bit round the front and the back, like a [ or ] shape so when installed it will be slightly deeper but dismantle-able to fit the door.

My bigger immediate worry is how to get it up a tight and curving staircase....
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Re: Coming together!

Postby pat17 » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:17 am

By the way, where did you get your Fatar TP60 keyboards from? I've read it might take some time to get them delivered?
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Re: Coming together!

Postby Organorak » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:21 am

Hmmmm.

There are two companies advertising Fatar parts in the UK for Hauptwerk users.

I bought the keyboards from one company but had two wait around four months, I bought the swell pedals from the other and three months later they still haven't arrived.

Absolutely no criticism is intended towards either company, they have both been extremely helpful. But if you order Fatars in the UK, you do have to be prepared either for a very long wait....................or a very hefty shipping and import tax if you import them from across the pond where CMK seem to keep them in stock!
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Re: Coming together!

Postby pat17 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 5:07 am

Organorak wrote:Hmmmm.

There are two companies advertising Fatar parts in the UK for Hauptwerk users.

I bought the keyboards from one company but had two wait around four months, I bought the swell pedals from the other and three months later they still haven't arrived.

Absolutely no criticism is intended towards either company, they have both been extremely helpful. But if you order Fatars in the UK, you do have to be prepared either for a very long wait....................or a very hefty shipping and import tax if you import them from across the pond where CMK seem to keep them in stock!


I'm sorry for your bad experience about it. Nevertheless, it is - unfortunately - confirming what I have heard and read before on the same subject. I had my console being done in Germany, and the supplier has informed me, should I order the last part of it - the keyboards - I should have to wait between two weeks and three months for delivery... :oops:

It looks it's a question of luck... I was expecting, since your model is very standard, it should be better, but it appears not to be the case.
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Re: Coming together!

Postby Organorak » Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:57 pm

Well, progress is slow but thought it was worth posting the latest update:

Tidying up the stopjambs with oak trim:
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Building a toeboard into which the toepistons (from a real pipe organ console) will be fitted:
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I had to create the curved "sweep" in three parts in order to get the right angles - the left and right pistons are at a slight angle upwards, and the centre flat piece is angled at around 30 degrees so that when the Fatar swell pedals are screwed onto it they will incline at the correct angle.

The underside holding it all together:
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And how it looks when fitted. There are just two screws in the front board (ie visible), holding it firmly to the kneeboard. All other screws that hold it in place come in from the sides.
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Boxing in of swell pedals
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Now it's a matter of sanding down the old oak bench and pedalboard, figuring out how to fit the reedswitches so that they work first time with the pedals, and staining the whole caboodle. Unfortunately the design (constrained largely by the type of pedalboard I had) hasn't made it possible to get to the front end of the pedals to adjust the magnets or reeds without taking the whole organ to pieces so I just hope they all line up first time....
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Re: Coming together!

Postby Organorak » Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:26 am

A few more photos showing recent progress:

Wire management from thumb pistons:
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Completed thumb rails:
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Pedal reed switches - I got the height wrong across all the reed switches (trial and error) so had to mount each magnet on a small block of wood at the end of every pedal:
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Final assembly in progress:
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Salisbury Cathedral console as you've never seen it before - ornate burr walnut stop jambs and music desk in the style of Binns, using j-organ to recreate the stop jambs:
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Zwolle as you've never seen it before - burr elm stop jambs, digital music desk with opening of Bach's G minor fantasia and fugue:
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The wonderful thing is, it actually works! I spent last night playing away on Great and Swell and Pedals - the HW4 midi autodetect was far more straightforward than I had expected. There's still quite a lot of work to do, including finishing the casework in which the speakers and computer will go, and doing the virtual wiring between j-organ and Hauptwerk. Plus my RAID0 seems to be dying so no point doing any more computer setup until that's fixed.

Of course a few bugs appeared as well - I can't get Hauptwerk to recognise the pistons (the pistons and pedals all operate from one MIDI board which has up to 128 inputs via eight ribbbon cables. Only two of these seem to actually do anything in Hauptwerk, even though MIDI-OX is telling me that signals are being received when I press the pistons...) The swell pedals don't seem to do anything at the moment. And my legs aren't quite long enough to reach pedal piston 10 either side of the console - rats! But overall I'm pleased.

Can some kind soul please advise me the best way of connecting a two way "virtual midi cable" or whatever you call it between Hauptwerk and j-organ so that my j-organ GUI can control Hauptwerk stops and Hauptwerk's pistons can control j-organ's stopknobs? I'm running Win7 64 bit so am aware the options may be limited, though I don't mind paying for something if shareware or paid software is superior to freeware.

Oh and thanks to Brett and Martin for getting me started!
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Re: Coming together!

Postby mdyde » Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:31 am

Hello Organorak,

I can't get Hauptwerk to recognise the pistons (the pistons and pedals all operate from one MIDI board which has up to 128 inputs via eight ribbbon cables. Only two of these seem to actually do anything in Hauptwerk, even though MIDI-OX is telling me that signals are being received when I press the pistons...)


See if the MIDI activity indicators are flashing in Hauptwerk when you press the pistons on the 'Audio, MIDI and Performance' large control panel (can be opened via the View menu). If not, then the MIDI messages aren't reaching Hauptwerk (e.g. perhaps you don't have the relevant MIDI IN port enabled on the 'General settings | MIDI ports' screen).

If the activity indicators do flash then try temporarily turning on MIDI logging in Hauptwerk (General settings | General preferences | Advanced ...), pressing an releasing one of the pistons then using 'Help | View activity log' to see what messages the pistons are sending.

Can some kind soul please advise me the best way of connecting a two way "virtual midi cable" or whatever you call it between Hauptwerk and j-organ so that my j-organ GUI can control Hauptwerk stops and Hauptwerk's pistons can control j-organ's stopknobs? I'm running Win7 64 bit so am aware the options may be limited, though I don't mind paying for something if shareware or paid software is superior to freeware.


I can't advise on jOrgan itself, but unfortunately I'm not currently aware of any virtual MIDI cable software for 64-bit Windows that works properly with MIDI sys-ex (which Hauptwerk needs to use - it will send a sys-ex message for MIDI feedback detection, even if you aren't using sys-ex for the stops). LoopBe and loopMIDI are the only 64-bit virtual MIDI cables I'm aware of and both of them currently have problems with sys-ex.

Hence you would probably have to use two real, physical MIDI cables instead (connected between two real MIDI IN ports and two MIDI OUT ports). Make sure you have the relevant ports enabled only in the relevant applications (Hauptwerk or jOrgan), not both, and that you don't have both ends of a given MIDI cable enabled in any one application, otherwise you will get MIDI feedback (freezes/crashes) and/or contention for the MIDI ports.
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Coming together!

Postby Organorak » Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:06 am

Thanks Martin.

I have one of those little Roland/Edirol thingies with a MIDI in and MIDI out socket that plugs into USB. Could I connect the "MIDI out" socket from my M-audio card into the "MIDI in" of the Edirol (which would be plugged into a USB port), and if so, what does the Roland "MIDI out" plug into, or do I just leave it flapping in the wind?

I should add that I have five MIDI boards that are running in series; the first only has a MIDI out, and all the others have MIDI out and MIDI in so there is no chance of introducing MIDI feedback that way. So at the moment the configuration is as follows (board descriptions are in square brackets):

[PEDALs+PISTONS BOARD] -> IN [SOLO BOARD] -> OUT -> cable -> IN [SWELL BOARD] -> OUT -> cable -> IN [GREAT BOARD] -> OUT -> cable -> IN [CHOIR BOARD]-> OUT -> cable -> IN [M-audio card in PC]

and I thus have one spare MIDI OUT socket from the M-audio card to use.
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Re: Coming together!

Postby mdyde » Tue Jun 07, 2011 1:43 pm

Hello Organorak,

To connect bi-directionally between Hauptwerk and jOrgan, so that stop states stay in sync. between the two applications, you would need *two* physical MIDI cables, and thus two spare MIDI IN ports and two spare MIDI IN ports:

1. Hauptwerk -> MIDI OUT port -> MIDI cable -> MIDI IN port -> jOrgan.

2. jOrgan -> MIDI OUT port -> MIDI cable -> MIDI IN port -> Hauptwerk

Since your MIDI hardware currently connects to Hauptwerk via your M-Audio card then you would need to get a separate MIDI interface that has at least two extra MIDI IN and two extra MIDI OUT ports. E.g. a MOTU Microlite is usually a good and reliable option (5-in, 5-out, which would leave you plenty of spare ports, and would even allow you to connect some of your MIDI hardware to Hauptwerk in parallel, rather than chaining it in serial, for best performance).
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Great & Pedal combinations combined

Postby Organorak » Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:26 pm

Thanks Martin for that clarification.

I was thinking back to a question I asked the other day for my own console (I use j-organ designed stops to control Hauptwerk and was looking for a virtual midi cable that works in Win 64 bit. You'd said you didn't know of any, then I found loopbe30, rtpMIDI, Copperlan and loopMIDI, each of which I guess I'll try till I find one that works...)

A while ago I believe I' right in saying j-organ didn't allow a Gt to peds combination stop, but maybe that has now changed or will get added to its functionality one day in which case you could design your console using j-organ as the GUI and use the j-organ combination system as the combinations, rather than Hauptwerk's built in combinations, for controlling Hauptwerk samples. Depends how desperate you are for a Gt to Peds combination coupler- normally I just leave it out the whole time and expect 99% of organists do likewise!

Of course you might equally find j-organ more limiting - and then one day Martin and Brett will stun us all with an upgrade to the custom organ definition tool. Hauptwerk 5 anyone?
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