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Routing and mixing for 4 speakers

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Routing and mixing for 4 speakers

Postby dfuchs » Sat Feb 04, 2017 6:57 pm

Dear advanced HW users,

I've read some posts and tutorials about multi-channel audio and sophisticated speaker arrangements, but I'm still not sure which way I should be heading. It all seems very complex.
I've been using only headphones and one pair of stereo speakers so far. As I'm not satisfied with the pure stereo sound (too focused), I'm planning to get a second pair of speakers, but I won't be able to afford 6 or 12, nor would I have enough space to use them in a meaningful way. Also, my sound card has only four channels, so four-channel output is all I can go for at the moment.
So I have those main speakers (let's call them speakers A), which are sitting left and right of my console. They are good at the bass end of the range but not very convincing when it comes to high frequencies.
The second pair (speakers B) could be mounted under the ceiling and would have to be lighter and smaller. At any rate, they would have to be different from speakers A because that model is no longer sold. I was thinking of a pair of small active monitors with 5' woofers.
Obviously, I could route the Great Organ and Pedal to speakers A and the Positiv (upper manual) to speakers B for spatial effect. I like that idea, but then I wouldn't be using speakers B at all when I play the Great Organ only. Also, the smaller speakers B might not be able to reproduce the lowest octave as good as speakers A, even if there is no 16' in the Positiv.
So I though about mixing the outputs: make the Great Organ and Pedal sound 70% through speakers A and 30% through B, and the Positiv vice versa. My questions are:

  • Is this kind of mixing possible at all in Hauptwerk?
  • Does the idea make sense to you, in terms of acoustics? Would it sound better than only one pair of speakers or a strict split between Great and Positiv?
I might add that I play semi-dry sample sets and am aiming at an organ-bench sound, just with the imbalance that goes with it levelled out a bit.

Best regards,
Daniel
There's nothing special about it. You only have to hit the right note at the right time, then the instrument will play all on its own. -- Bach
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Re: Routing and mixing for 4 speakers

Postby organtechnology » Sun Feb 05, 2017 12:37 am

dfuchs wrote:Dear advanced HW users,

I've read some posts and tutorials about multi-channel audio and sophisticated speaker arrangements, but I'm still not sure which way I should be heading. It all seems very complex.
I've been using only headphones and one pair of stereo speakers so far. As I'm not satisfied with the pure stereo sound (too focused), I'm planning to get a second pair of speakers, but I won't be able to afford 6 or 12, nor would I have enough space to use them in a meaningful way. Also, my sound card has only four channels, so four-channel output is all I can go for at the moment.
So I have those main speakers (let's call them speakers A), which are sitting left and right of my console. They are good at the bass end of the range but not very convincing when it comes to high frequencies.
The second pair (speakers B) could be mounted under the ceiling and would have to be lighter and smaller. At any rate, they would have to be different from speakers A because that model is no longer sold. I was thinking of a pair of small active monitors with 5' woofers.
Obviously, I could route the Great Organ and Pedal to speakers A and the Positiv (upper manual) to speakers B for spatial effect. I like that idea, but then I wouldn't be using speakers B at all when I play the Great Organ only. Also, the smaller speakers B might not be able to reproduce the lowest octave as good as speakers A, even if there is no 16' in the Positiv.
So I though about mixing the outputs: make the Great Organ and Pedal sound 70% through speakers A and 30% through B, and the Positiv vice versa. My questions are:

  • Is this kind of mixing possible at all in Hauptwerk?
  • Does the idea make sense to you, in terms of acoustics? Would it sound better than only one pair of speakers or a strict split between Great and Positiv?
I might add that I play semi-dry sample sets and am aiming at an organ-bench sound, just with the imbalance that goes with it levelled out a bit.

Best regards,
Daniel


Hi Daniel,

Rather than talk about speakers let's talk about Hauptwerk's philosophy of "Sample Sets". First of all although you can make a certain rank's sound come out of a certain speaker, it is not always a good idea to do so.

Hauptwerk is basically organized by Organ and not by Ranks. In other words the Sample Sets for Hauptwerk utilize all of the pipes and sounds of a pipe organ in one stereo sound field. So the job of the speakers is to take a complex stereo "image" and accurately reproduce it in your listening area so that it sounds exactly like the original organ.

To minimize the generation of distortion and harmonics, Hauptwerk moves the pipe sounds to different sets of stereo speakers to minimize IMD and THD. The more stereo pairs that are available the clearer and fuller the available sound. Since the location of a pipe becomes more difficult to locate as the frequency goes below about 60Hz, the low frequency speakers (sub woofers) are not used in stereo but are fed both channels, usually of a mixed down pair.

I believe that the organs are recorded expecting that reference type headphones will give the best reproduction (AKG K701 etc.) but that does not give the best reproduction for the organist as there are no really low frequency affecting the body like a real organ would. So a sub-woofer or sub-woofers are added to provide the low-frequency-feeling of the big pipes. But then a listener not wearing headphones just hears (feels?) the low notes so loud speakers are added to correct this. So now the mixing of signals in the speaker's amplifier creates IMD and THD so more stereo pairs are added so that Hauptwerk can run the magic algorithm to shift notes (pipes) through all the speaker pairs available. This progresses until all 512 available audio channels are used meaning 256 stereo pairs ;)

Based on the description of budget constraints and room area my advice is to get the best headphones you can buy and add a haptic exciter or "shaker" to the bench. If you want listeners, then add a very good stereo pair in the front and a good stereo pair in the rear for reverb plus a sub-woofer capable of 16Hz but still wear the headphones when you play.

Or you can go back and divide the pipes up by division or type and send them to the speakers you want by assigning audio outputs and groups.

Enjoy,


Thomas
Complete VPO systems powered by Hauptwerk™. Real Wood Consoles, PC or MAC Computer Sound Modules, Audio for Home or Church.
info (at) organtechnology.com http://www.organtechnology.com

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Re: Routing and mixing for 4 speakers

Postby mdyde » Sun Feb 05, 2017 6:25 am

dfuchs wrote:So I though about mixing the outputs: make the Great Organ and Pedal sound 70% through speakers A and 30% through B, and the Positiv vice versa. My questions are:

Is this kind of mixing possible at all in Hauptwerk?


That would certainly be possible technically: you would set up each pair of speakers as a separate 'aux mix-down output' and then set up two stereo primary outputs (the existing default 'main output' being one of them), labelling them appropriately for what you intend to route to them, and setting their aux sends to route them in the desired ratios to both of the aux mix-down outputs simultaneously. You would then put each of the two primary outputs in its own audio output group (so that you could route pipe ranks to it) and the use the 'Organ | Load organ, adjusting rank audio/memory options/routing screen' to perform the rank-to-group mapping.

dfuchs wrote:Does the idea make sense to you, in terms of acoustics?


For 4+ channel surround sample sets one other option would be to route the rear/reverberant/church-perspective/etc. stereo channel to one pair of speakers (the further/higher pair), with the front/direct/organ-perspective/etc. going to the other (nearer) main pair. In that case, I think you would want to main (nearer) pair to be the best possible quality (e.g. high quality active studio monitors) with a full frequency response. The second pair probably wouldn't be quite so critical.
Best regards,
Martin.

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Re: Routing and mixing for 4 speakers

Postby dfuchs » Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:53 pm

Thanks Thomas and Martin,
I totally agree that headphones give the most realistic impression for any kind of recording technique (wet, surround, semi-dry). And you don't even need expensive ones. The problem for me starts when I switch on my speakers. But I think I'll just go ahead and give it a try. It's good to know that the kind of mixing I had in mind is possible. Whether it will improve the sound remains something I'll have to find out. I also think that tonal ideals are very different, so it's probably hard to give a recommendation. My idea was to get a more directional sound from plain stereo samples by making different sounds come from different directions. I think the bench shaker might put too much of a strain on the friendly footing I'm on with my neighbours...
Best regards,
Daniel
There's nothing special about it. You only have to hit the right note at the right time, then the instrument will play all on its own. -- Bach
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