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Small English Church Installation

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ajt

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Re: Small English Church Installation

PostWed Jun 16, 2010 6:50 am

IanPounder wrote:However, you are then up to 6 stereo channels, for which you would need enough soundcard outputs and power amps (or use some powered speakers). However you do it, it's going to be quite expensive - though I don't know whether that's a consideration.


Cost is always a consideration, but I believe the church would be able to fund this properly, provided we're not talking silly money.

I'm starting to think a consultant might be the way forward... :(
Adrian
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David Pinnegar

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Re: Small English Church Installation

PostWed Jun 16, 2010 9:13 am

Hi!

Why don't you come up to the EOCS meeting on 3rd July? - You'll hear the results of my knowing what I'm doing. You don't need a "consultant" who will cost you silly money - speakers can be money for old rope as I know from auditioning the Kharma Million Dollar range (yes - really a million dollars . . . )

Best wishes

David P
http://www.organmatters.co.uk
David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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Re: Small English Church Installation

PostWed Jun 16, 2010 9:33 am

ajt wrote:The speakers you posted look quite amazing - are they as big as they look (3' tall or so?) ? I can't see me getting a faculty to get those installed anywhere; there is nowhere to hide them.


Hi!

3ft? Nearer 6ft I suspect. I'll be getting them from Notts this coming weekend.

I have been working on finding _cheap_ alternatives to very very expensive drive units. Last night I put units into an infinite baffle. They sounded good - for my kitchen. Very good. I compared them with an existing design of the nature of the Beasts - a 2ft version - and there is simply no comparison. The infinite baffle design is limited on headroom - it's fine for a very good reproduction of music which is enjoyable in a near-field situation, but the other design gives a performance. A church is not a kitchen, and needs a performance. An organ needs a performance.

What about the West end? You might even only need 2 or 4 main speakers of the right type plus subwoofers vented into a space. (You could then install the St Maximin sampleset and the result could be very spectacular!) If you have speakers capable of giving a performance, then at a distance, you don't need a great number of channels. It's important that main speakers can breathe air. Or you can use smaller speakers for specific channels for specific stops which can be less visible. I have a current source of supply of particularly impressive drivers for some wide distribution somplex cabinets ideal for upperwork and reeds which are currently being made by an expert obsessive carpenter for a sum that is not insignificant but well worth what he's charging . . .

Best wishes

David P
http://www.organmatters.co.uk
David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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ajt

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Re: Small English Church Installation

PostWed Jun 16, 2010 11:10 am

David Pinnegar wrote:Hi!

Why don't you come up to the EOCS meeting on 3rd July? - You'll hear the results of my knowing what I'm doing. You don't need a "consultant" who will cost you silly money - speakers can be money for old rope as I know from auditioning the Kharma Million Dollar range (yes - really a million dollars . . . )



I'd love to, but I'll be on a ferry back from Mull - got to take a bunch of children there for the week; no showers, no hot water, etc. You wouldn't want my company :)
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Re: Small English Church Installation

PostThu Jun 17, 2010 9:59 am

ajt wrote:I'd love to, but I'll be on a ferry back from Mull - got to take a bunch of children there for the week; no showers, no hot water, etc. You wouldn't want my company :)


Well, you're welcome to come on later day if you like. The chances are that I might not have managed my trip to Notts to collect my flower-pots by that weekend . . . so a later visit might be more productive.

If anyone else wants to come, however, it will be interesting to hear Hauptwerk, particularly in Chamber Organ mode, through different families of speakers with varying degrees of portability and other areas may be of interest. Please ring 01342 850594 if you would like to come or PM me

Best wishes

David P
http://www.organmatters.co.uk
David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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ajt

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Re: Small English Church Installation

PostThu Jun 17, 2010 4:45 pm

I tried just a simple stereo setup today - console and speakers under the tower, with just "consumer/home" gear. 2 x 175W floor standing speakers (2x6" drivers I think) and 100W per channel amp. Best position seemed to be putting the speakers at the entrance to the tower, facing 45 degrees into the wall.

This isn't a rig I'd keep, as I'd have to be driving the speakers and amp pretty hard to get much out of it, but it has at least proved to me that I don't need anything too complicated to fill the church. The building was surprisingly easy to fill with sound, and unless immediately in front of the speakers, everything was coming through the reverberant rather than direct, so had a pleasing quality to it.

So, my thinking has shifted to:
Sw, Pedal & Gt speakers in the tower space, on separate stereo channels, 2 speakers only, but probably placed above head height to allow treble frequencies to get out more easily. Presumably I'd want a sub or two for the lower end too, although I was getting very good presence from the speakers I used this evening the definition was a bit lacking.

Re-use the existing speakers for the Choir.

I checked the CH amps tonight; all stereo, so I'm assuming the speaker that's hanging from the ceiling is stereo too.
Adrian
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Re: Small English Church Installation

PostThu Jun 17, 2010 6:41 pm

Hi!

That sounds as though you're on the right track. I first became interested in speakers as a teenager when the organ was being rebuilt in the 700 seat chapel and I used, fortuitously, the right type of speaker put behind the altar pointing up into the apse and Purcell's Trumpet Voluntary sang out on just the output of a domestic valve gramophone. It was a revelationary moment. I then relayed the sound of the small pipe organ in the small chapel a few hundred meters away and reproduced it satisfactorily with a couple of pairs of speakers, achieving a degree of notoriety at the time for its success.

Your challenge will be to get it to sound real rather than a hi-fi recording. I once heard a Carlo Curley recital on a Makin with bad speakers and it sounded like a hi-fi recording, making the single manual instrument shine. Drive units that sound _real_ and which are robustly reliable are a challenge to find, and I have just achieved success in a near emulation of my favoured units, whilst another imported make is of interest.

If you'd like to come over, I'm happy to explore permutations and I have a number of multiple spare drivers of different types and enclosures which you could borrow to try if you would like, so please get in contact. 01342 850594

Best wishes

David P
http://www.organmatters.co.uk
David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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mdyde

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Re: Small English Church Installation

PostFri Jun 18, 2010 6:24 am

Hello Adrian,

My personal advice would be to go for plenty of separate audio channels (=speakers) (probably as lots of stereo pairs), with the speakers scattered around so that their slight differences in position give them perceived separation/clarity (as happens with the pipes in a real organ) and minimise unnatural dry phase addition/cancellation.

Whilst speaker quality is of course very important, my personal view is that the number of audio channels is probably the more significant consideration for reproducing a dry sample set convincingly in a wet acoustic (assuming the speakers are of at least a reasonable quality, of course). Dr Colin Pykett's 'signal mixing effect' (phase addition/cancellation) is one of the main reasons (for dry sample sets):

http://www.pykett.org.uk/EndOfPipeOrgan.htm#Mixing
http://forum.hauptwerk.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=6498

... the other main reason being that differences in patterns of early reflections are a key clue used by the brain to help identify sounds (pipes, ranks) as separate, and are thus very important for perceived clarity for dry sample sets, especially when a number of ranks sound at once.

I would say that the realism of the plenum depends significantly on the number of audio channels with dry sample sets.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.

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Re: Small English Church Installation

PostFri Jun 18, 2010 7:35 am

Thanks for the advice, Martin, all makes sense. How does this affect "slightly wet" sample sets? e.g. Haverhill, which is not particularly reverberant, but is wet. The church acoustic isn't absolutely dry, but the current CH plays as though it is; I think this is down to speaker placement rather than acoustic.I figured a slightly reverberant sample set would help with blend and sounding more natural. Obviously something with a big acoustic (e.g. Salisbury) would just sound unnatural.
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Re: Small English Church Installation

PostFri Jun 18, 2010 8:05 am

How does this affect "slightly wet" sample sets? e.g. Haverhill, which is not particularly reverberant, but is wet.


Since the Haverhill is a wet-recorded sample set, in the sense that it's recorded with early reflections in the samples, the signal mixing effect (unnatural phase addition/cancellation) shouldn't really apply.

Likewise, because early reflections are already contained in the samples, the pipes should already sound distinct (perceived clarity of the plenum), at least when heard in a dry/near-field listening environment.

So in some respects there would be less need for additional audio channels.

However, of course, playing a wet sample set in a reverberant space has its own set of compromises, mainly in that:

1. The organ will sound wetter overall than the brain would expect for the listening environment, which will detract from the overall perceived realism. Because of this, you would probably want to go for a sample set that's as dry as possible overall (even if the sample set is wet-recorded - with early-reflections, like the IA PAB). Testing the Haverhill in situ will probably give a reasonable idea of whether it's too wet or not to sound convincing in the building.

2. The real acoustic will add another set of early reflections to the sound coming from each of the speakers, which will tend to make the brain localise the sound to one one point (the loudspeaker) again, to some extent undoing the benefit that the wet samples brought (unique patterns of early reflections for each pipe). For this reason, you would probably still want as many audio channels as possible.

3. The early reflections contained in the samples will be heard combined with the early reflections of the real acoustic, which will make it more difficult or impossible for the brain to construct an intelligible model of the shape of the listening environment, which again will make it sound less realistic overall. I.e. adding early reflections to sound that already contains early reflections usually won't lead to an overall set of early reflections that could describe a real building, with the result that it will sound less natural.

A true dry-recorded sample set with one speaker per pipe is probably the ideal for reproducing a sampled organ in a wet listening environment, but that would probably need a similar amount of money and space to a real pipe organ. So you have to choose a reasonable balance of compromises.

Generally, for use in a wet listening environment, you probably want to look at either a true dry-recorded sample set, or a nearly/fairly/semi-dry but wet-recorded sample set. I'd suggest as many speakers as possible in either case, but you might perhaps get away with less in the semi-dry case.
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.

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Re: Small English Church Installation

PostFri Jun 18, 2010 8:44 am

mdyde wrote:My personal advice would be to go for plenty of separate audio channels (=speakers) (probably as lots of stereo pairs), with the speakers scattered around so that their slight differences in position give them perceived separation/clarity (as happens with the pipes in a real organ) and minimise unnatural dry phase addition/cancellation.


Dear Martin and Adrian

Yes - this would normally be one's intuitively correct approach and is certainly the one that I have adopted for my own instrument. . .

But where space and visual limitations cause less ambitious solutions to be considered, let alone budget, other solutions can give remarkable results. Thus my invitation . . .

Best wishes

David P
http://www.organmatters.co.uk
David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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Re: Small English Church Installation

PostFri Jun 18, 2010 11:26 am

If I may input a bit of perspective - having been dealing with these issues for over four years now in a public church installation...

I've never really understood the concept of stereo pairs, considering [I] want as many speaker groups as possible with as many speakers per group as possible. It seems to me that a stereo pair is still basically one speaker - in that any given pipe is speaking through two channels/speakers in stereo. Seems a waste of precious channels given that the point source is so far away from the listener, i.e. in a "pipe" chamber as it is at Zion.

Channels are precious. At Zion I am "stuck" with an EMU-1820 (16 channels) and can add no more because the EMU will not allow multiple audio interfaces - like another sound card. So, stuck, until I am willing and able to completely dump this equipment and buy a MOTU 24io or other that will let me build/add additional channels. This comes with a $1400 price tag and a host of other considerations.

At Zion I have four different speaker groups (all mono). One 6-channel, two 4-channel, and one 2-channel. This is due to circumstance of having dissimilar speakers - of varying power handling and quality - to work with. If I had my choice and money was no object, I'd have all Mackie HR824 and a MOTU 24io - and I'd use two groups of 12 speakers.

The biggest hurdle to a "real" sound for me has been beating thirds / IM distortion. My six channel speaker group sounds infinitely better than either of my 4 channel groups - due to the fact that there is never a major third played through the same speaker from a rank at 8 foot pitch. Whereas in a 4-channel group the major third always cycles back to the same speaker the root note (pipe) is speaking from.

The second consideration: better speakers v.s. more channels...
Martin said:
Whilst speaker quality is of course very important, my personal view is that the number of audio channels is probably the more significant consideration for reproducing a dry sample set convincingly in a wet acoustic

I used to agree completely. But now I think it’s not quite black and white. There was a time - during construction of the pipe casework - that I had to hurry the organ back into business for a wedding. Time and space was an issue so I ran only 8 channels instead of 16, but I used all the Behringer Truth studio monitors I had and left all the Conn pipe speakers and "Organ Speakers" sit idle in storage. I was shocked by how much better the organ sounded - with only 8 channels!
Since then, I've retired all the old "organ speakers" and 12 out of 16 channels are now Behringer Truth studio monitors. This is the main reason why upgrading to 24 channels has been deferred/postponed, as the "need" isn't as imminent.

I'll leave discussion of "sub-woofers" for another post, but… (I have 10 channels that are 16-ft [32Hz] capable)
Bob Collins
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Re: Small English Church Installation

PostFri Jun 18, 2010 11:43 am

Appreciate the input Bob, as I am working on a similar project, all be it, slightly smaller. Budget and space are large factors in my case, as well may be the case with Adrian. Seems to be there is a internal factor between good, better and best. :roll:

Rgds,
Ed
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Re: Small English Church Installation

PostFri Jun 18, 2010 12:32 pm

Hello Bob,

The biggest hurdle to a "real" sound for me has been beating thirds / IM distortion.


That's effectively Dr Pykett's 'signal mixing effect', in that you get different (often stronger) phase addition/cancellation when two dry pipe samples (in this case a third apart) sound through a single speaker/channel, than when they sound through different speakers/channels (in which case the room acoustic's reflections effectively randomise their relative phases).

I don't think you'll find that intermodulation is a significant/noticeable issue with most modern (e.g. studio monitor) speakers - if it was, listening to any recorded music through the speakers would sound equally objectionable. The manufacturer's specs might also give your the IM figures for a given set of speakers (probably extremely low).
Best regards, Martin.
Hauptwerk software designer/developer, Milan Digital Audio.

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Re: Small English Church Installation

PostSat Jun 19, 2010 5:17 am

ajt wrote:Here's the building:
Image


Quite a nice one! 8)

Sorry not to be able to help...
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