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Opinion: Wet vs. Dry Organ Reproduction

Speakers, amplifiers, headphones, multi-channel audio, reverb units, mixers, wiring, ...

Re: Opinion: Wet vs. Dry Organ Reproduction

Postby Eric Sagmuller » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:32 pm

Wow. I wonder if this thread and Martin's e-mail to Dr. Pykett back in March stirred him to write this article. It appears so. He appears to find quite a few flaws of the wet recording as well as the dry, also mentioning signal mixing and phasing issues to some extent with the wet. I didn't read it carefully though as it makes my head spin. I think Martin's test though brings some real validity to the discussion. I didn't get the impression Dr. Pykett actually did any heavily involved real world tests.

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Re: Opinion: Wet vs. Dry Organ Reproduction

Postby B. Milan » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:33 am

http://www.hauptwerk.com/learn-more/audio/

http://www.hauptwerk.com/learn-more/video/

Need we say more?

Martin has stated his position plenty on this topic, and Dr. Pykett is free to write as he wishes (although we of course disagree with many of his opinions and he doesn't seem to prefer to state his opinion here for others to raise a discussion directly with him), however we feel that the Hauptwerk demonstrations speak very well for themselves and we will not be spending any more time replying to this discussion.

No digital/virtual organ, wet or dry with natural or convolution acoustics will be a replacement for the real thing and each will have its drawbacks as any sampled or other non-real instrument will have. In the end let your ear decide and leave science to wind. It is our belief (and the many many Hauptwerk customers around the world) that the results obtained from Hauptwerk are the most realistic simulation *next* to the real thing.

Thank you.
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MILAN DIGITAL AUDIO

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Re: Opinion: Wet vs. Dry Organ Reproduction

Postby pwhodges » Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:09 am

David Pinnegar wrote:it would be valid to record each instrument and represent it by a separate speaker at the other end

Not until we can also record and reproduce its physical movement (translation and rotation, while it plays, and (more importantly, I suspect) its polar diagram (in three dimensions) which varies from note to note, and is hugely different from other instruments, let alone speakers. Not to mention that the reproduction equipment must interfere with the sound field of adjacent instruments in a similar manner.

There's some way to go before a complete reproduction of an orchestra can be achieved, let alone at a comparable price!

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Re: Opinion: Wet vs. Dry Organ Reproduction

Postby David Pinnegar » Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:18 am

Dear Paul

Yes - I agree - and its for this reason that I dislike many commercially produced recordings nowadays.

One problem with the organ is, as you say, that polar patterns of different families of pipes differ, and this may be one source of the cross purposes which have resulted in other threads recently.

An example in another area for which Hauptwerk is being used is in the creation of harpsichord sounds. Placing the mic into the top of the instrument can put a magnifying glass on the pluck, making the sound very harsh and cutting, whereas the real instrument sounds much sweeter as from a mic position at least a metre away from the case. Certainly two commercial emulations of the harpsichord make this mistake and the result creates a false impression among musicians who haven't heard the real thing.

An interesting example of speaker modification of sound dates from the earliest days of electronic music where the Ondes Martineau deliberately used the signatures of different types of speaker to modify the sound. One of them was a speaker playing through a soundboard of open strings - perhaps the answer to harpsichord sample sets that are too dry or closely recorded . . .

Best wishes

David P
http://www.organmatters.co.uk
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Re: Opinion: Wet vs. Dry Organ Reproduction

Postby mdyde » Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:34 am

Sorry Brett - I know I promised not to spend any more time on this topic!

Colin Pykett's latest article is on this very topic:

http://www.pykett.org.uk/wetdry.htm

Joe Hardy


I think it's generally an excellent and informative article, although perhaps not as complete as it might ideally be. It mostly covers things that have already been discussed at length (although not in such detail in one place) in many posts over time on this forum.

It does largely focus on the compromises of wet sampling, which is perhaps fair enough since Dr. Pykett has covered some of the key compromises of dry sampling in other articles, although it would be nice to see some of the advantages of wet sampling included too, most significantly:

- That wet sampling makes it possible to play at home (ideally on headphones) a sample set of a specific (e.g. famous or historic) real organ in its original acoustic, with the per-pipe differences in room acoustic (spatial information) reproduced.

- That wet sampling can yield per-pipe differences in acoustic, which with dry sampling could only be achieved with one speaker per pipe, or one impulse response/reverb unit/instance per pipe.

- That the end result of playing back a wet sample set sounds no worse (and no better) than listening to a CD recording made of the real organ from the same microphone positions.

- When listened to via headphones and recorded binaurally, then the result is essentially identical to what you would would have heard with your head in the position of the microphones (apart from slight differences in microphone response, non-linearities of the organ, etc.).

Many of Dr. Pykett's shortcomings of wet sampling are results of playing the output back through speakers in a room, i.e. that the listening room's acoustic will unnaturally change the result, and he seems to have dismissed headphone listening as relevant for digital organs. However, for Hauptwerk's wet sample set home users, headphone listening is often practicable and preferred, and it's the recommended approach by many wet sample set producers, precisely because it allows the original acoustic to be reproduced properly. (An anechoic, near-field listening environment being second-best.)

With (good) binaural recording and headphone playback, I'd say that it's only really the inability to hear the sound field change in response to moving one's head that's a significant compromise in terms (specifically) of acoustics.

Edit: P.S. Conversely, there are some other significant compromises of wet sampling that the article doesn't mention, such as the fact that non-static effects like swell box movements, wind fluctuations and tremulants can't be reproduced as accurately if the arey applied artificially to samples that are already wet (since they should theoretically occur before the effects of the acoustic/reverb).
Best regards,
Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.

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Re: Opinion: Wet vs. Dry Organ Reproduction

Postby pwhodges » Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:54 am

mdyde wrote:With (good) binaural recording and headphone playback, I'd say that it's only really the inability to hear the sound field change in response to moving one's head that's a significant compromise in terms (specifically) of acoustics.

Some research has been done into using a full three-dimensional ambisonic recording played through a processor which applies HRTFs (ideally from the listener's own ears) to form a binaural signal, the source being rotated in real time under the control of a device tracking the movement of the head to make it appear stationary.

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Re: Opinion: Wet vs. Dry Organ Reproduction

Postby gingercat » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:39 am

pwhodges wrote:Some research has been done into using a full three-dimensional ambisonic recording played through a processor which applies HRTFs (ideally from the listener's own ears) to form a binaural signal, the source being rotated in real time under the control of a device tracking the movement of the head to make it appear stationary.

Hi Paul - any links on this? Sounds quite interesting, and could remove the reason for me not wearing headphones for a lot of applications should it become widespread.
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