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Error Correction System for Hauptwerk?

Buying or building computers for Hauptwerk, recommendations, troubleshooting computer hardware issues.
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engrssc

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Re: Error Correction System for Hauptwerk?

PostSat May 23, 2020 9:59 pm

I was thinking more in terms of the passive, heat spreader variety. The ones I've seen use thermal paste, the same as used between the CPU and it's cooler. These slip/clip over the RAM sticks dissipating the heat thru the aluminum material of the cooler. The computer in question doesn't run especially hot, but there is some warm exiting the rear of the case. It runs 24/7 and gets it's power thru a UPS. There's also the argument that these consumer version computers aren't, for the most part meant for this type of operation.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Error Correction System for Hauptwerk?

PostSun May 24, 2020 5:44 am

A (real) acoustic piano is potentially a good backup option for any Hauptwerk-based/digital/pipe organ installation in a church, since it's completely independent, will work even in the event of a power cut, can be a wonderful instrument in its right, and probably any organist could play it acceptably well. You can buy reasonable second-hand upright pianos for really not very much money these days -- probably much less than you could buy a second computer. (You would need to keep it tuned, of course.)
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.
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ldeutsch

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Re: Error Correction System for Hauptwerk?

PostMon May 25, 2020 11:30 pm

OK, I'll chime in on this topic;

Some of you know that I am a mathematician. In fact, my career research specialty has been error correcting codes - especially as they apply to communications systems. I am actually an internationally-known expert on this topic with many published papers and even some patents.

ECC (error correcting code) systems in computers make use of the same kinds of mathematics as our space communication links. Basically, if a system has interference from some kind of noise (radio interference or thermal noise for space links, or hardware glitches on memory chips), these codes can correct the errors at the expensive of requiring a small overhead in the digital bit stream.

I agree with some of the people on this thread that today's computer systems really don't require this level of performance for the sorts of things that we do. Hence, unless you plan on using Hauptwerk outside the Earth's Van Allan Belts, I do not see the need to apply coding theory to this problem.

Les
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engrssc

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Re: Error Correction System for Hauptwerk?

PostTue May 26, 2020 1:06 am

I wasn't suggesting extraordinary means but rather reaching out for best to do means toward as much of a fail safe VPO installation as is possible. Maybe to a bit higher level than the more "average" HW installation. Even doing everything right, there is a vulnerability factor. Not a big deal for a home instrument, but a different matter for a public performance instrument. While I can't speak for Drew (Greenwood UMC), I'm quite sure that is his concern as well.

http://forum.hauptwerk.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=18662

In any installation that I've been involved with, we've used only highest grade components, properly integrated and installed. So far, there has only been one failure, but that's one too many for me as well as the (very vocal) people that funded the project. They have made the point that while the Hauptwerk software is not an issue, using a consumer level computer is the weak link, even with the present level of sophistication, etc. Since, for the most part most all computers and computer hardware is manufactured by builders with varying degrees of quality control, there in lies the problem. Given this type of QC information is made known quite quickly, it serves as a guide to make good choices as to which systems and parts to use. For instance, I recently learned that Kingston (brand) RAM has the best track record.

I understand the message that Ray made regarding the enemy of computers being heat and startups. In the above case, the organ computer is powered by a very large UPS and runs 24/7. Never has there been a heat issue either.

http://forum.hauptwerk.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=18696#p140828

Martin's suggestion regarding an acoustic piano as a backup is well taken. In the case of the above church, they have 4 acoustic pianos between the Sunday School and the rehearsal areas as well as an 8ft Bosendorfer in the main auditorium. They have had what I would call a high goal music program. Unfortunately there are looming questions for the future due to Covid-19.

Now in the case of this chap who does live YouTube streaming, it's quite obvious that he needs a new, larger computer.

https://youtu.be/5F8iPqOnySo?t=622

but this is not the case with either Drew's or my installations.

Rgds,
Ed
Last edited by engrssc on Tue May 26, 2020 7:15 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Error Correction System for Hauptwerk?

PostTue May 26, 2020 6:46 am

Good morning Les

Thumbs up Les and thanks for your comment based on scientific facts.

I more than 13 years of using and installing Hauptwerk system (hundreds of system in the field) I never had one problem related to bad ram.

When doing an installation in a church or concert hall, the question always arise from the client.. "What if the computer crashes?" . At that point I ask them "What is your risk tolerance? How long can you survive without the organ?" ... yes we can add redundancy (have a second computer pre-configured and who can be plugged on demand)... so twice the price for a second computer who will gather dust for years... oh but what if the audio interface fails... a second one also? What about a failing MIDI conversion board, a blown amplifier etc. etc. And this is not specific to Hauptwerk; anyone who known about pipe organ knows that they can be out of service "for a while".

In the end the client realize that he can "survive" without the organ for a few services... usually they were without organs for months and years before getting Hauptwerk (defective pipe organ, no money to repair it etc). :wink:
Best regards
François

Virtually sharing my enthusiasm and experience with you
Worldwide technical assistance, consultation and ready to play system.

http://www.HauptwerkConsultant.com

AND Hauptwerk Support Manager
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Re: Error Correction System for Hauptwerk?

PostTue May 26, 2020 7:40 am

In a further explanation, the above mentioned failure occurred at a most inopportune time - Murphy's Law. Cost wasn't an issue in this case. Coincidentally, as was the case with Drew's installation, the problem was a failed stick of RAM.

In this installation, I went 'head to head' with Hauptwerk competing against Rodgers. Maybe that was a mistake on my part. Will have to seriously consider that situation in the future

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Error Correction System for Hauptwerk?

PostTue May 26, 2020 10:11 am

Well, I was thinking about the three times that I had a organ fail during a concert or service during my extensive organist career. This does not include times when I had random ciphers on pipe organs or out of tune or dead notes on various instruments. Here are the real life critical failures I have encountered:

1) I had a Kimball pipe organ fail at a church service back in the 70s

The problem here are in a pneumatic relay that was supposed to come on wen the main regulator bellows inflated. We could not find the problem in the 30 minutes I had before the service was to begin so I had to use a piano that day.

2) I had a large electronic organ fail during an outdoor commencement ceremony - also in the 70s.

I correctly diagnosed this problem as a fuse that had blown in the severe Los Angeles heat. Since I was at Caltech, I found someone with a Volt Ohm Meter and I tested all the fuses. I found the errant one and used a dime to bridge the contacts. This allowed me to get through the rest of the ceremony without missing a note.

3) I had a small electronic organ fail during High Holidays service - also in the 70s!

This turned out to be a power supply problem and I could not fix it during the service. Besides, the rabbi would not let me try because I would have been in full view of the congregation on a day when we are prohibited from doing work (as defined in the Talmud - which specifically includes repairing musical instruments.)

Please note a few things. First, all of these issues occurred more than 40 years ago! Second, one was on a pipe organ - and this is the only one that would still occur today as this technology is still in use.

I have never had a digital organ or a software organ (like Hauptwerk) fail during a concert or gig. My guess is that the most likely systems to fail based on my knowledge of electronics and computer systems would be:

1) Audio amplifiers

2) Computers - most like because they have inadequate ventilation or conflicts with other non-music software

3) Organ console problems (like failed piston switches or SAMs)

I would not spend a lot of time trying to increase reliability through RAID memory or multiple computers with majority voting. I suggest, instead, concentrating on making sure your computers are free of unstable third party software, detached from the Internet (at least when in a concert environment), and properly ventilated.

Les
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Re: Error Correction System for Hauptwerk?

PostTue May 26, 2020 11:28 am

I totally concur with your observations, (all very good) Les, and as I read them, one by one I could cross them off my 'to do' list. As all have done at least once and some several times to be sure, just in case. The fella I'm working with is a commercial airline pilot who insists on creating check lists. Even tho he has flown thousands of miles, he complies with the regulations and always uses the check lists.

BTW, I would direct anyone using Hauptwerk, to follow those above guidelines that Les posted.

Back to the area of the failure problem, this RAM should not have failed. I'm questioning if it might have been a compatibility issue as this stick of RAM has worked in my home HW computer which uses an Intel i7 CPU and a Gigabyte MOB. When I was trouble shooting the church's computer, this same RAM stick failed several times irregardless of which slot it was in.

A big issue which I ran into in this situation was church politics, which I won't discuss here. For sure, I don't have any claim on a large amount of knowledge in the area of computers, my 'thing' is sound - audio. I thought, possibly mistakenly that I could manage with this Hauptwerk thing. Maybe not. My degree is in broadcast engineering, which has gone well beyond what I learned in school. After this, I'll probably get out of the Hauptwerk organ business. :| My airline pilot friend tells me that I tend to take things too seriously. He's probably right.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Error Correction System for Hauptwerk?

PostTue May 26, 2020 11:54 am

Yes Ed, churches really should not have 'church politics' in them, but many do. Many years ago I was auditioning for a church organist position. They actually hired me on the spot. However, they then started to tell me all the 'rules' that would apply to my playing, and they really were not musical rules. When the committee got done, I apologized for taking their time and told them I would not be accepting their offer. They were shocked, but I immediately knew I was making the correct decision.

Regards,
Ray
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Re: Error Correction System for Hauptwerk?

PostTue May 26, 2020 1:28 pm

Ed, as mentioned earlier, the HP Z series are very good for these situations. I have an 800, but an 820 or 840 would be better for HW5 (the newer processors have the instruction set Martin optimised for). The 820 uses DDR3, the 840 DDR4.
The ram is ECC, there are fans for EVERYTHING! 2 for the psu's, 2 for the HDD's, 1 on each processor, 2 for the PCI cards and 2 for the RAM. There's even on-board RAID (SAS and SATA). It's quite easy to run RAID1 or 5 or 10 to allow for drive failure.
Also, on start-up, the mo-bo does a test on the ram and disables anything it thinks is faulty. (It asks to disable things!).
The are designed to run 24/7 on intense processing work and not fail (Avatar was rendered on 800's).
They should definitely be considered for peace of mind.

Tony.
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Re: Error Correction System for Hauptwerk?

PostTue May 26, 2020 2:11 pm

Very much appreciate that information, Tony. Good to know.

The big question, aside from fan noise, is who would pay for such a box? I realize every solution comes with a price.

What I'm hearing, in general, since houses of worship have been closed, this has greatly reduced the funds - offerings.

And then one of the "rules" for re-opening lists no singing (choirs, congregation). One might ask what does this have to do with HW? I can see less need for an organs (of any gender). We've already seen a purge of electronic organs (good for HW home instrument builders).

This covid-19 has reached into areas never considered before. One potential church client told me they have an over 200+ seat auditorium that under the new rules in their area can only accommodate 23 members at one time. As a result, they aren't looking to purchase a big HW organ anytime soon.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Error Correction System for Hauptwerk?

PostTue May 26, 2020 2:39 pm

ldeutsch wrote:I tested all the fuses. I found the errant one and used a dime to bridge the contacts. This allowed me to get through the rest of the ceremony without missing a note.


Wouldn't a penny have done the job? you know being copper. I suppose a penny wouldn't fit or wasn't available. :o

Could be the '70's aren't listed as the good ole days in your book of remembrance. :roll:

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Error Correction System for Hauptwerk?

PostTue May 26, 2020 3:51 pm

engrssc wrote:Very much appreciate that information, Tony. Good to know.

The big question, aside from fan noise, is who would pay for such a box? I realize every solution comes with a price.

What I'm hearing, in general, since houses of worship have been closed, this has greatly reduced the funds - offerings.

And then one of the "rules" for re-opening lists no singing (choirs, congregation). One might ask what does this have to do with HW? I can see less need for an organs (of any gender). We've already seen a purge of electronic organs (good for HW home instrument builders).

This covid-19 has reached into areas never considered before. One potential church client told me they have an over 200+ seat auditorium that under the new rules in their area can only accommodate 23 members at one time. As a result, they aren't looking to purchase a big HW organ anytime soon.

Rgds,
Ed


They can be gotten for a good price refurbished. I paid about €800 for the machine about 5 years ago. The ram upgrade (from 48gb to 96gb) cost about €160. Current processors (5675) about €120 for the pair. I've upgraded the disks substantially to cater for HWV, mainly because the old ones were full.
I was in the process of buying an 820 chassis/mb in October, but ended up out sick and missed it (€300!!!). That would have taken my then and new drives and ram and would have given me 2 x 12-core processors!
All in all, currently you could get an 820 with decent processors and 64Gb ram for about €1000. That's still much less than a comparable Mac or a new Z series. They are well worth looking out for and easy to upgrade!!
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Re: Error Correction System for Hauptwerk?

PostTue May 26, 2020 4:12 pm

I will keep that all in mind, esp if we can get past the covid-19 and then the church politics things. I'm not into petty stuff, rather looking for solutions. Keeping in mind that 1000 eros is slightly more than $1K USD which is within a couple hundred dollars than of what we spent for the present 'puter. Something like $1.4K or so as I remember.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Error Correction System for Hauptwerk?

PostTue May 26, 2020 5:37 pm

About the affordability of Z840s:

Browsing eBay today, refurbished Z840s with 8-core and 6-core Xeon processors, 16or 32GB RAM, 200-500GB SSD are listed for sale for under $1K (some as inexpensive as the $700's). Refurbished Z840 dual processor systems are roughly $1.5K.

One that caught my eye was:
Z840, dual Xeon E5-2690 V3 2.6GHz 12-core processors, 64GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Win10 Professional installed, Nvidia Quadro K2200 GPU - $1312.49 + $68.79 shipping, Free 30 day returns.

This system has more powerful processors, more memory, an SSD instead of a magnetic hard drive, a more powerful GPU, and is priced at slightly over half of the best valued Z840s I found 4 years ago. If I didn't have a Z840 already, I would seriously consider buying this one :-)

Mark
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