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Audio Set-Up for Armley Schulze?

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Audio Set-Up for Armley Schulze?

Postby Rauschpfeife » Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:07 am

Hello Chaps.

Long time since I've put a post up here, but I'm looking for some advice on the Armley set, which I'm planning to buy at some point in the next few months, cash flow allowing.

I'm currently redecorating my lounge / music room and I'm taking the opportunity to chase the speaker cables for the organ (and a load of other stuff) into the room, prior to re-plastering. The resulting audio layout will be something like this:

Image

A couple of comments:
- arrows for the direction of sound egress from the speakers
- there's another room off to the left, through large double doors, adding about another 5-6m of length, which should give the woofer ("W") plenty of room to speak.
- channels 5 & 6 will actually be connected to a CD player, but can become available to the organ too if that's helpful.

Since I like to have a reasonable idea of how I'm going to use the thing on which I'm going to spend £350, before I spend the money, could I ask for some opinions on how to direct the Armley samples to the speakers?

In the simplest case, I could send a mix of the "chancel" / "nave" samples to 1 & 2 (+W) and the "surround" to 3 & 4, as indicated in the manual. I've done this with other 4-channel sets.

I also had a slightly crazy idea about running the "chancel" / "nave" samples for the Echo division through 5 & 6, the rest of the divisions through 1 & 2 (+W), and the surround for everything through 3 & 4 to attempt a German "Fernwerk" effect, but, as I said, pretty crazy.

What would you expert sound engineers do?

Does anyone know how the microphones were laid out for recording? I couldn't find anything in the manual.

I find the audio routing stuff in HW rather complicated, so if I have a reasonable idea of what I'm trying to achieve before I start, that will probably help navigate the configuration stuff! It'll also reassure me that I ought to get a good result with that Armley and my setup and I'll feel better about spending the money.

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer,

Adam.
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Re: Audio Set-Up for Armley Schulze?

Postby josq » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:26 am

Assuming you primarily want to reproduce the original sound and acoustics of the organ, a couple of recommendations:

I could send a mix of the "chancel" / "nave" samples to 1 & 2 (+W) and the "surround" to 3 & 4, as indicated in the manual. I've done this with other 4-channel sets.

You can stick to that. Don't worry about audio routing in this stage, you'll be OK and this forum can help you out as soon as needed.

Ideally, all speakers are positioned symmetrically and at equal distance of your listening position, at a distance of 1m or less (assuming you have near-field monitors) Your proposed setup appears to approach these ideals closely.

However, for optimal stereo imaging, it is recommended to position speakers symmetrically with regard to sidewalls. In this regard, the proposed setup is certainly nonideal (many early reflections from the right wall). The center of the left wall would be a better position for the console in this regard, but given the doors over there that's probably not a possibility. The best alternative might be to apply significant treatment to the right wall: curtains to absorb higher frequencies, bass traps or similar wooden structures for lower frequencies. Or perhaps a large book shelve. Similar treatment to the front and back walls near the console could be useful too.

You might get a better phase response from the speakers by pointing them at your ears.

The "fernwerk" effect using speakers 5&6 could be nice for experimentation, but I think the result might get spoiled by a dominant contribution of the room acoustics.

I have little experience with subwoofer placement, but the general recommendation seems to be to place the subwoofer on the listening position (the organ bench) for a moment, and to move yourself around the room to find the place where it sounds best to your ears. That's the place where you should position the subwoofer to get optimal sound. Predicting the optimal place in advance is very hard due to the irregular room size.
Last edited by josq on Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Audio Set-Up for Armley Schulze?

Postby engrssc » Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:30 am

Rauschpfeife wrote:Does anyone know how the microphones were laid out for recording? I couldn't find anything in the manual.


page 4 of the User Manual:

St Bartholomew's Church is a very resonant building, resulting in a significant component of reverberated sound being present even in recordings taken close to the pipework. The organ is situated in the chancel
area, high on the north side and its power is very keenly felt in this part of the church. Further west, the power and brilliance is tamed (the famous five rank Great Mixtur becomes less strident) and the church's resonance increasingly affects the organ's sound, as would be expected.


With these factors in mind, the decision was taken to adopt a multi microphone approach with recording positions high in the chancel close to the pipes, as well as towards the east end of the nave. In addition, microphones placed in the nave pointing directly away from the organ give a surround sound position.


This results in a multi-channel sample set with chancel, nave and surround stereo perspectives, with the single channel sample set featuring the chancel samples only. Sustain samples of some 6 - 8 seconds duration were taken and there are three release samples per note to take account of the difference between the sound of the release for short (staccato), medium (portato - typically 200 to 500 mS, depending on pitch) and long note durations. Some notes feature extra medium duration release samples, particularly for the slower evolving lower pitched pipes. Each sustain sample features a minimum of three individual loops.

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Audio Set-Up for Armley Schulze?

Postby Rauschpfeife » Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:25 am

engrssc wrote:With these factors in mind, the decision was taken to adopt a multi microphone approach with recording positions high in the chancel close to the pipes, as well as towards the east end of the nave. In addition, microphones placed in the nave pointing directly away from the organ give a surround sound position.


Many thanks for pointing this out - apologies that I missed it on my first read through. I should have skimmed less and read more! Thank you to both of you for your responses which I'm currently trying to digest.

What Ed has just described from the manual does prompt an interesting idea, however.

If one were to set as a "listening position" the east end of the nave as described in the paragraph above, does this mean that, according to my room plan above, channels 5 & 6 should deliver the "chancel" sound, channels 1 & 2 the "nave" sound and channels 3 & 4 the "surround"?

Or, would the noted reverberation content of the "chancel" samples spoil this, do you think?

I seem to remember that one can adjust the delay to each of the channels in Hauptwerk, which makes me wonder if a bit of cleverness there could give a good effect? A bit like having a portable console in the middle of the church?
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Re: Audio Set-Up for Armley Schulze?

Postby engrssc » Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:48 am

Could the console be moved 90 degrees with it's back side on the right most wall?

Rgds,
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Re: Audio Set-Up for Armley Schulze?

Postby engrssc » Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:49 am

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Re: Audio Set-Up for Armley Schulze?

Postby Rauschpfeife » Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:57 am

engrssc wrote:Could the console be moved 90 degrees with it's back side on the right most wall?

Rgds,
Ed


I'm not sure that management would allow that, but what's your thinking?
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Re: Audio Set-Up for Armley Schulze?

Postby engrssc » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:56 pm

There would be a longer space at your back side which permits the sound to open up into the other room as well.

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Re: Audio Set-Up for Armley Schulze?

Postby josq » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:59 pm

On the downside, you'd have two sidewalls very close, so (unless treated) a lot of early reflections. Generally, the more space on all sides of the speakers, the better. Walls are bad :shock:
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Re: Audio Set-Up for Armley Schulze?

Postby Rauschpfeife » Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:38 am

engrssc wrote:There would be a longer space at your back side which permits the sound to open up into the other room as well.


If I sound like I'm half asleep here, it's because I am - my wife recently went "pop" with our latest arrival and I'm not getting much shut-eye.

I say that because it's taken me this long to actually comprehend what you were saying about the position of the console. On first reading I had it facing into the room with the front channels being speakers 5 & 6 but I realize you meant it to be the other way round. Unfortunately that's prevented by the window for the room covering most of that wall.

After chucking this around for 24 hours, I think the best option is probably the simplest one, which is to go with 4 channels, two from the "chancel" and two from the "surround" samples, and run them through 1, 2, 3, 4 and the woofer.

That's OK - it'll certainly give a feeling of "space" and apart from anything else, the manual indicates that I should be able to leave out the "nave" samples, and load the others in 20-bit resolution (lossless) for the whole organ (though whether the memory requirements table accounts for the suggested the reverb truncation is not clear).

Whilst I'm here, I'd value an opinion or two on whether the aforementioned approach, or loading all three sets of samples in 16-bit and blending them together is likely to give the best result? Or is this purely subjective?

Thank you to you both for your input - it's appreciated. I'm crossing my fingers that this month's pay day gets me "over the line" as far as buying the set goes.

Adam.
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Re: Audio Set-Up for Armley Schulze?

Postby 1961TC4ME » Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:14 pm

Hey Adam, good to see you back on the forum and congrats to you and your wife on your latest addition to the family!

Since I've had the Armley Schulze since December and have now had the chance to tinker pretty extensively with speaker positioning, routing and so on, I'll throw my 2-1/2 cents worth in. First, I'll just say that I think the Armley Schulze is one of the best bargains going right now and your planned speaker layout is fine. Given your room / space to work with, what you've drawn is probably going to be your best option. I can't see any other way to arrange that would likely sound any better.

Chancel / Nave signals and what to do with them: The two signals are very similar, both with basically the same in terms of wetness, the Nave having a slightly further away sound, but it's fairly negligible. I've found using one vs. the other by themselves does not sound as good as combining both together and sending both to the same speakers. They very much compliment each other and produce a fuller sound which you then of course can also adjust their levels against each other in the control screen provided. So, my 2-1/2 cents worth combine them both, send them to the same speakers, don't separate them.

Speaker positioning, how many and where: Again, where you show your speakers being placed is all good. If you're starting out with 4 channels of audio you'll be fine. I'd send all front (Chancel / Nave) to the front speakers, surround to the rear, and a mix down of the front Chancel / Nave for your side speakers and / or a mix down of all to your sub. I have a total of 10 channels. If you're going through a remodel of the room now, I'd advise planning for the future as we know this HW thing always seems to inevitably grow at some point, sure has for me anyways! Even if you don't use it all immediately, you've got it ready when the time comes and I would plan to have provisions for at least 6 - L / R channels (1-2, 3-4, 5-6) of audio up front, 2 - L / R channels to the rear, and 2 to the side. I used these when doing my AV system and they work great and are neat an tidy for speaker connections. They come in a variety of configurations from 2 to more than 8 connections per plate >>> https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commercial- ... /203715825 If you've got the walls torn apart anyways, might as well plan for the future! Front speakers should be placed as you show off to the left and right corners of your console, up off the floor, the higher the better but not right at the ceiling. I strive to keep the drivers of the front speakers at or above ear level, not any lower. Rear speakers up near the ceiling and the side speakers you show could be mid way height I suppose.

Routing.... and this is the reason for at least 6 channels up front: I've found in my set up the Armely Schulze that it responds best to again loading all signals, combine Chancel and Nave (front channels) stops to the same front speakers. I've used a pair of larger towers up front, that or you want something up front that can get down under 40hz, preferably deeper into the 30's. I also use 2 pairs of smaller bookshelf speakers, all stacked L / R in pairs of 3 up front. All Chancel and Nave 32', 16' and 8' go to the towers regardless of division, all Chancel and Nave 4' and 2' go to the one pair of bookshelf and anything higher pitched, mixtures ect. go to the second set of bookshelf speakers. I've tried several different routing combinations, this by far sounds best and gives awesome clarity. Yes, you do end up with some speakers doing more work than the others but it works. Of course the surround signal goes to the rear speakers and I'd send a mix down of to your side speakers. In my case I'm using what would be your side speakers as mix-down to my 2 subs.

If you're limited to available GB of memory: I'm not much of a tremmed rank user and I'm limited to 32GB of memory. I can load Chancel and Nave @ 20 bit, surround @ 16 bit, not load the tremmed ranks at all, and I have 5+ GB to spare. Sounds awesome! Loading the 'enhanced' version the same way (again no tremmed ranks) leaves me with about 2GB to spare. If you want to load the tremmed ranks, then you're going to have to choose between loading Chancel or Nave, I'd go Chancel in that case. I'd really suggest no less than 32GB of memory available for this set, but I suppose a person could try loading 16 bit all the way around, I haven't tried it though to see what it leaves for memory.

Overall, the Schulze is an awesome set and I know when you do get it up and running you will be very pleased with your decision to get it!

Marc
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Re: Audio Set-Up for Armley Schulze?

Postby magnaton » Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:39 am

Hi Adam:

I have the Armley Schulze surround setup in a 12 channel configuration. Like Marc, I have spent some time tweaking the routing configurations to find what works best in my environment. Here are 2 basic routing designs to consider:

Acoustical recreation
From your layout of the speakers, I'd route the Chancel to (1-2), Nave to (3-4), Surround to (5-6). Fairly straight forward. If you review a picture of the "Settings" menu from the Lavender Audio website or manual, you'll see lots of faders to help tweak the blend between Chancel and Nave and Surround. To simulate the acoustics of the church, truncate the reverb on the Chancel ranks to just under a second say 750ms. Do the same for the Nave ranks, reduce to 1.5 seconds. Of course leave the surrounds ranks with the full reverb release. If I'm not mistaken, when you truncate the reverb tails you reduce the space requirements needed. It took me a while to find this correct truncation formula of 750ms & 1.5 as some numbers just didn't sound natural. Since this is a BIG organ, I did my truncation experiments by just loading a few choice ranks. This greatly sped up the re-caching process!. As the title this paragraph suggests, when you release a note, especially a big chord, you'll hear the released notes travel front to back to left! Again the settings page makes it easy to tweak the volumes of each speaker set.

Divisional seperation
As others have suggested, you can send certain divisions to particular set of speakers. So you asked how would it work if the Echo was dedicated to speakers 5-6? That would be for you to determine and of course it's really easy to experiment with. To be honest, that was one of my routing experiments and it was a really nice effect to have the "Echo" farther away. As you'll read in the next paragraph, it wasn't the design I ended up choosing.

Setup and audition
Here is what worked for me to confirm my routing decision. I made use of HW's Alt Config settings by having the 3 different routing designs set up on 3 separate Alt Configs respectfully. I then recorded a few pieces user HW's MIDI recorder. A few days later invited some organ friends and audiophile inclined folks over for a social. We then did an A-B-C audio routing listening comparison using the MIDI playback files to act as a constant sound source. The separate Alt Configs made it easy to switch designs around. Later did the same through out the night with folks taking turns playing. This worked well as we got to hear what it sounded like in the room as well as at the console. A couple of invited friends couldn't tell much difference between the 3 configs but the hard core organ and audiophile folks could. It was fun learning experience as we all agreed on the one design we thought sounded the best.

Regarding the Aremly-Schultze, I can't say enough about the beauty and usefulness of this sample set. Love it!

Danny B.
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Re: Audio Set-Up for Armley Schulze?

Postby Rauschpfeife » Fri Mar 02, 2018 6:25 pm

Marc, Danny - thank you for your input - it is appreciated.

Addressing one of Danny's points first: I did wonder whether the 3-directional speakers might line up with the three types of samples in the set. I appreciate the information about truncation that you provided and I think I'm getting to the point where I'm just going to have to buy the set and play with it.

Unfortunately, as I said I'm part-way through rebuilding / decorating our lounge, and I've just had to replace an expensive power drill, which may delay my purchase for a month - we'll have to see how it all works out come pay day. D'oh!

Nonetheless, I think my response to the alternative suggestion (divisional routing) is probably much the same. I'm just going to have to play with it - but I'll happily take the tip of not loading everything. The number of times I've failed to remember that important point when testing a new instrument isn't small. I definitely think inviting some folk over to test it out and try some different combinations is a good move though. I'll make some plans.

Regarding Marc's point on audio wiring - yeah, the cables are going in and I've got some nice faceplates made up of the kind you've linked to to take them to all corners of the room. The ceiling boards are coming down at some point as they need replacing, so I'm getting in there to run speaker wires, CAT6, move a few lights around, etc. It'll be good when it's done, put it that way. I'm going to put boxes / faceplates in for 6 channels for now (I don't own any more speakers at this point) and then put twine / cables into the roof space in case they need to be pulled through later. Apart from anything else, that'll do a lot to clear up the mess behind the instrument.

Routing: I seem to recall that most of what we hear of about 120Hz and below is "directionless" sound. Assuming I'm right, whatever gets sent to the front channels - chancel, nave or a mix of the two - will get run through the woofer first and have it's bottom knocked off! (Sounds painful!) The woofer's got a built-in adjustable low-pass filter, so I'll have a play with that and make sure the rest goes to the 8" drivers which - the specs say - stop giving a flat response outside of 40Hz - 22kHz. That might make the surround channels a little light on 16' tone (5" drivers, flat down to about 100Hz), but I can either adjust the amplitudes of the particular pipes, equalize it or live with it I guess.

Loading: thanks for laying out the choices! I think I probably will want the tremmed samples, so it might be 16-bit all round for me, but again, I'll probably have to play with it and see what works best. The computer has 32Gb of RAM (I don't recall if it'll take more) so it should be "enough" even if it's not "everything".

It's getting late and I don't think I've got a lot more that's useful to say, but thank you both for your thoughts. Lots to chew over in this thread.

One last thing. I can't believe I haven't tried it yet, but it's just occurred to me in light of all this discussion that the Zwolle Ruckpositiv might, with the four-channel set up I've been using up until now, benefit from going through the opposite channels it's used up 'til now. It is supposed to be behind the player after all...
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Re: Audio Set-Up for Armley Schulze?

Postby engrssc » Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:43 pm

Rauschpfeife wrote:so I'm getting in there to run speaker wires, CAT6, move a few lights around, etc. It'll be good when it's done, put it that way. I'm going to put boxes / face plates in for 6 channels for now


CAT6 for a network?

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Audio Set-Up for Armley Schulze?

Postby Rauschpfeife » Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:27 am

engrssc wrote:CAT6 for a network?


Yup. Quite a few machines in my house (work) so it makes sense to have them all wired. I've got CAT5e at the moment, but the wires have been bashed over the years and I can't get 1000Mbit/s down all of the links any more, so I'm trying to make redecorating (which is unavoidable, due to a flood upstairs) as much of an opportunity as possible.
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