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Beyond Stereo to multiple Speakers

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Re: Beyond Stereo to multiple Speakers

Postby CHRIS 037 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:27 am

I’ve been reading this thread for some time now and considering the various points made. I have to wonder how many HW folks have heard what a lot of multiple speaker groups actually sounds like!

Mine is a small/moderate organ room of about 22 x 14 x 7.5 feet and uses 80+ smaller speakers. This is probably the sort of environment that David P. is referring to. From personal experience I find his comment

This thread started on the question of stereo vs multi-channel and I'm sorry for offending anyone in busting the multi-channel myth in domestic situations.


to be amusing!

There is simply no myth to be burst! Multiple speakers do sound better than just stereo, large room or small---where you want the sound of a dry sample set to come across as a real pipe organ in your environment. I suggest the proof is in the pudding . . . go listen and settle the question that way. For small rooms one needs many small speakers to give that big pipe organ effect. Big halls need bigger speakers.

Yes, I have tried stereo using some rather highly thought of speakers: a pair of full-range Martin-Logan electrostatics ($1000+ each) or a pair of Sonus Faber Concerto’s ($1000+ each). For an organ-in-the-room sound, the many, much less expensive speaker groups are vastly more real sounding. :D

Leo Chris.
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Re: Beyond Stereo to multiple Speakers

Postby jkinkennon » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:56 am

There's an interesting possibility that we might consider as to why some find beating intervals to be so offensive. That is the possibility that if there is a significant hearing loss in one ear then the beats will sound worse as we gradually lose the ability to provide our brain with two different phase relationships for the same sounds. I began thinking about this possibility when a fellow piano tuner confessed that she heard the beats better when borrowing her husband's hearing aid. My first thought was "aha, your hearing is failing". Then I realized that in fact what was occurring was hearing primarily with one ear, not two, and that this was the same thing I noticed when playing my "plug one ear" game with the Pykett demo recordings.

One thing that would be helpful in the present discussion would be to leave out the term IM distortion unless that is what we actually mean. The beating of differing intervals is natural. In fact I found the left/right recording vaguely disturbing when heard through headphones because I knew it shouldn't sound so "good".

It is true that stuffing all the sound into one mono channel doesn't sound good, just as listenning to the world through a single hearing aid is not any fun for those who must try to live with that situation. So there's obviously something real going on here that at the least includes the binaural hearing miracle. More than one channel, certainly. Many, many more? Now that's debatable.
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Re: Beyond Stereo to multiple Speakers

Postby Eric Sagmuller » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:26 pm

jkinkennon wrote:There's an interesting possibility that we might consider as to why some find beating intervals to be so offensive. That is the possibility that if there is a significant hearing loss in one ear then the beats will sound worse as we gradually lose the ability to provide our brain with two different phase relationships for the same sounds. I began thinking about this possibility when a fellow piano tuner confessed that she heard the beats better when borrowing her husband's hearing aid. My first thought was "aha, your hearing is failing". Then I realized that in fact what was occurring was hearing primarily with one ear, not two, and that this was the same thing I noticed when playing my "plug one ear" game with the Pykett demo recordings..


I think you may be right here John. I am especially sensitive to these beats at varying degrees and have major sinus problems that affect my hearing and inner ear pressure. For awhile the right channel of speakers sounded louder and I finally came to the conclusion that it was my ears.

The fact that I don't seem to hear the beats as readily with my real pipe organ, may be that the sound fills the whole room and is all around me vs sitting between stereo pairs of speakers.

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Re: Beyond Stereo to multiple Speakers

Postby toplayer2 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:38 pm

I cannot help but wonder if those who doubt the benefits of multi-channel audio would not be persuaded otherwise if given the opportunity to actually compare. Like Leo, I have some very high end speakers that have been connected to the VPO (B&W DM802, DM602, Magneplanar MG IIIa, Ruark Sabre) as well as sixteen Mackie HR824 studio monitors which are very well regarded for their accuracy, and eight Mackie MR5. If only two would have done the job, then it would have been foolish to have purchased the others.

When voicing the Paramount series, I intentionally limit myself to a single pair of HRs so that the organ will sound as good as I can make it do on a simple two channel system knowing that this is all many of my customers will have. But when I play for pleasure, it is SO nice to be able to expand into thirty-two channels. The organ sounds much more real and alive and less fatiguing.

So, are the advantages of multi-channel audio for organ sound a myth? I say absolutely not!

Joe

PS: when I can get around to it I will follow Martin's suggestion to record a live demonstration of IMD (not to be confused with beats!) that is so compelling a person would need to be stone deaf not to hear it.
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Re: Beyond Stereo to multiple Speakers

Postby David Pinnegar » Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:47 pm

CHRIS 037 wrote:
This thread started on the question of stereo vs multi-channel and I'm sorry for offending anyone in busting the multi-channel myth in domestic situations.


There is simply no myth to be burst! Multiple speakers do sound better than just stereo


Hi!

Of course - but it depends on what you're trying to do. There's a difference between a happy enough sound for practice, for which stereo plus possibly some back reverb speakers can suffice, and a full scale surround sound virtual reality simulation. One solution, as you say, is to use vast numbers of cheap speakers and I seem to recall someone on this list or elsewhere having taken out a Rodgers installation involving panels of an array of 20x20 or so of such speakers. It's certainly a valid approach as none of them are likely to move much and be taken out of linearity.

Rather than an attempt at surround sound virtual reality simulation it turned out that the question raised merely the separation of the pedals from a stereo pair. This is a sound desire, helping to avoid Doppler Distortion which makes things sound muddy with speakers of a conventional disposition. If one is committed to stereo without further channels, one can do this successfully by using a bass capable passive speaker fed by through a sub-woofer passive filter in parallel and next to ones speaker from which one wants clean sound fed through a 147uF or 180uF capacitor in series to block the muddying bass. Provided the speakers are next to each other it does not matter that the pedal harmonics and chiff come out of a separate unit. Total cost of capacitors and filters comes to less than £20 and any old 12 inch - 18 inch driver will do.

For practice, such an arrangement might be looked at as a Ford Popular and we can all agree that sinking into the comfortable leather seats of a Rolls Royce is a wonderful experience. Miles per gallon of one, let alone purchase cost and depreciation, differs between the two but both sets of wheels will transport an organist from home to church . . . and isn't that just what Hauptwerk is all about?

Best wishes

David P
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Re: Beyond Stereo to multiple Speakers

Postby mdyde » Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:34 pm

Hello David,

Previously in this topic (Sun 26) you wrote:

I'm really wondering about the sanity of multiple speakers especially for small domestic practice room installations. The perceived need for multiple speakers flies in the face of audiophile practice and results obtained.


If you're now acknowledging that multiple speakers can be significantly beneficial for dry sample sets for domestic use after all, then we're in agreement, and it seems I've wasted almost a day of work (and had to put the release of Hauptwerk v4.0 back accordingly) in replying to this thread unnecessarily, since it does matter to us that Hauptwerk users are able to find accurate and good information and advice from our forum.

It would certainly help us if you could try to state what you mean more accurately in future when offering advice to our users. Thanks.
Best regards,
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Re: Beyond Stereo to multiple Speakers

Postby CHRIS 037 » Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:52 pm

(Martin, Please do stick to the HW v4 work. You're the only one who can do that! Let the rest of us thrash out these other questions for now.)

Actually, there is one situation where I found stereo groups and dry sample sets did work pretty well. When I first got the Virginia TO, I set it up through eight stereo channels (pedal separate). That dry sample set was actually recorded in stereo and comes through well. Note I refer to eight stereo channels (16 speakers) and not just one stereo channel. When one has only one rank per set of stereo speakers, the sound was clear enough. But, now when that set goes to the six+ groups of 12 speakers each, that little organ really blossoms out to an even better sound.

This doesn’t apply to most other dry sets since they are not recorded in stereo (those that I have had experience with anyway). The assumption being (I think) that multiple speakers and mono tone modes will be used with HW.

Leo Chris.

And, thanks a lot David (and others)!!! Your interesting comments have led me to generate a partial total of the money I’ve put into my HW set up so far. . .

My, Oh My!!! Multiple speaker systems are not cheap, even using smaller type speakers (5” woofer plus tweeter for the most part). My partial total for just the speakers comes to about

$18,000.00!!!!

A sobering finding. I just added more and more to the HW set up over the years and never really worried about the totals (back in the good old money days). But, I can say for sure that the sound I hear is worth it. :D
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Re: Beyond Stereo to multiple Speakers

Postby Eric Sagmuller » Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:11 pm

mdyde wrote:Hello David,

If you're now acknowledging that multiple speakers can be significantly beneficial for dry sample sets for domestic use after all, then we're in agreement, and it seems I've wasted almost a day of work (and had to put the release of Hauptwerk v4.0 back accordingly) in replying to this thread unnecessarily, since it does matter to us that Hauptwerk users are able to find accurate and good information and advice from our forum.

It would certainly help us if you could try to state what you mean more accurately in future when offering advice to our users. Thanks.


And to beat all, as far as I know David still doesn't even have a HW organ, unless that has changed recently!

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Re: Beyond Stereo to multiple Speakers

Postby David Pinnegar » Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:46 pm

Eric Sagmuller wrote:And to beat all, as far as I know David still doesn't even have a HW organ, unless that has changed recently!


:-) Whatever one uses as signal generators, Doppler Distortion and beat notes are common to the physics upon which systems succeed or fail. It's apparent that Hauptwerk is capable of driving elite systemswhich are lovely.

Penetration of Hauptwerk into the market and the associated benefit it gives in encouraging interest in the King of Instruments does rely on people knowing that they can get acceptably useful results on a budget. Demonstration of Hauptwerk at a summer EOCS meeting through just two channels of audiophile loudspeakers showed this to be perfectly possible and that stereo can suffice well.

Best wishes

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Re: Beyond Stereo to multiple Speakers

Postby James » Tue Sep 28, 2010 7:49 pm

Does this mean, David, that you still do not have a Hauptwerk installation? :wink:
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Re: Beyond Stereo to multiple Speakers

Postby David Pinnegar » Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:22 am

James wrote:Does this mean, David, that you still do not have a Hauptwerk installation? :wink:
James

8) I don't think you'd like the answer to that question . . .

I have persisted in defending the position of humble stereo on this thread because in promoting only Rolls Royce surround sound luxury and rubbishing mere stereo, which can be quite good enough, Hauptwerk will be pricing itself as a system out of the market.

This would be bad for organ appreciation and organs. Having witnessed destruction of pipe organ by bulldozer, public appreciation of the Organ is at a level of near total ignorance. It's for that reason that I set up the Organ Matters website, with photos of that destruction.

Hauptwerk can make the difference. Hauptwerk has caused a lot of excitement and especially among all with a computer . . . and is thus already making a big difference.

It would be sad for the organ to lose that opportunity by such a powerful tool as Hauptwerk to carry the image of "elite only here".

Last weekend an organist came to visit on my open console afternoon. He is a physicist and organist. He plays at a church near London and his home instrument is . . . two keyboards, let's call them Casios for illustration, set on their "pipe organ setting", mounted one above the other with a midified pedalboard below. Good enough for practice, and he's a fine organist, better than me by far. He's looking forward to Hauptwerk and for him, having been used to his current setup for practice, mere fine stereo would be good enough, even luxurious.

Best wishes

David P
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Re: Beyond Stereo to multiple Speakers

Postby toplayer2 » Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:28 am

David Pinnegar wrote:
James wrote:Does this mean, David, that you still do not have a Hauptwerk installation? :wink:
James

8) I don't think you'd like the answer to that question . . .

We can handle it, Dave. Or perhaps you are reluctant because you have invented your own virtual organ product that is vastly superior to Hauptwerk in every way but you can't discuss details publicly because it would give away all your trade secrets?

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Re: Beyond Stereo to multiple Speakers

Postby jwillans » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:46 am

toplayer2 wrote:
David Pinnegar wrote:
James wrote:Does this mean, David, that you still do not have a Hauptwerk installation? :wink:
James

8) I don't think you'd like the answer to that question . . .

We can handle it, Dave. Or perhaps you are reluctant because you have invented your own virtual organ product that is vastly superior to Hauptwerk in every way but you can't discuss details publicly because it would give away all your trade secrets?


Joe - I think you are being a tad unfair to David. While his original post may have been a little strong in indicated that the multi channel for dry sample sets are not necessary in the home, he has been an extremely useful source of information to me and other members in designing their (multi channel) audio systems (as has many other members in this forum, including yourself). He frequently voices the opinion that HW is the best of its type and I suspect actively promotes it through his contacts. Furthermore, irrespective of the veracity of his opinions (and I agree wholeheartedly with Martin's posts which question and state technical facts), I think we probably agree that David has no self interest in providing his opinions.

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Re: Beyond Stereo to multiple Speakers

Postby mdyde » Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:38 am

Hello James,

I think Joe was actually just being sarcastic. David uses Ahlborn units (not Hauptwerk) in the organ in his house (Hammerwood Park), as far as I know. A quick Internet search gives:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qg47wkq4YXU&feature=PlayList&p=82C4621E6F6688F1&index=0&playnext=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a87_A1He-M
http://www.hammerwood.mistral.co.uk/

While his original post may have been a little strong in indicated that the multi channel for dry sample sets are not necessary in the home, he has been an extremely useful source of information to me and other members in designing their (multi channel) audio systems (as has many other members in this forum, including yourself).


From our point of view, it's very difficult for us to tell whether the speaker advice that he offers to Hauptwerk users is sound advice, given that he won't actually make details available publicly, and given that some of the opinions he appears to expresses on the forum (e.g. relating to multi-channel audio and the use of low-cost non full-range speakers tailored to shape the sound of specific ranks) would appear to be advice that, on the face of what he writes publicly on the forum (which might well be an incomplete picture, in the absence of any concrete details), both Brett and I would strongly disagree with.

David's here at his own request so that he can advise people on organ speakers and audio. Reading and responding to David's (many, lengthy and sometimes rambling and off-topic) forum posts takes a significant amount of time/work for us. Since he's not a Hauptwerk user himself, we're prepared to do that (within reason) if it's a genuinely useful service to Hauptwerk users, balanced against the cost in terms of impact on development, and if we believe that the advice he offers is good advice that's backed with sufficient evidence and detail.

David, as in my previous post, if you have advice to offer to our users in future, please do it publicly, accurately, concisely and factually via the forum, so that we're all able to asses and comment on it openly, so that everyone can benefit from it equally, and so that we don't waste time having to respond to ambiguous or apparently-misleading opinions. If you really believe that digital organ companies are going to steal your ideas (which does seems highly unlikely to me), you can patent them first. Thank you.
Best regards,
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Re: Beyond Stereo to multiple Speakers

Postby David Pinnegar » Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:07 am

toplayer2 wrote:
David Pinnegar wrote:
James wrote:Does this mean, David, that you still do not have a Hauptwerk installation? :wink:
James

8) I don't think you'd like the answer to that question . . .

We can handle it, Dave. Or perhaps you are reluctant because you have invented your own virtual organ product that is vastly superior to Hauptwerk in every way but you can't discuss details publicly because it would give away all your trade secrets?

Joe


Hi!

Thanks. Trade secrets, we all have them, of course . . .

(James - thanks so much for your post - very much appreciated)

The bottom line for me is that I know that Hauptwerk is the technology upon which great things can happen. However, getting there, is not always an easy path. At the heart of the system must be the best possible computer able to cope, and if it's not good enough, if one has an ambitious console and large sample set, it's going to drop out in fast passages. That is not a problem: of course Hauptwerk systems can be built for this but by ambitious, I'm looking at 5 manuals and 180 stops. It's no secret that one has to be very realistic about the sort of hardware required. Is Clinton Knight's installation the largest implementation?

For the purposes of INSPIRING public appreciation of the King of Instruments and therefore putting the organ on the concert platform with some of the world's greatest performers, my requirements are more exacting than one can tolerate forgivingly at home: the system has to be indestructably rock solid whilst providing the greatest possible versatility. It has to drive at sub-sonic speed and supersonically like Concorde, without dropping out of the sky.

Hauptwerk properly implemented will do this, but it's a different echelon to a home practice instrument.

Then what sample set/sets does one apply? I'm not reproducing an instrument elsewhere here, I'm presenting an instrument on its own account. It puts together traditional Edwardian English with Northern European, Italianesque, French Romantic and French Baroque all together. Of course all of this would be possible with a lot of CODM work and no doubt, for all its convenience, Hauptwerk samplesets would provide better voicing. http://dustyfeet.com/santanyi_registration.html has me salivating.

In changing anything, during a performance it doesn't need reloading software, just merely pushing some buttons to change temperament. The hardware will fail in due course. That's when I should have made samples of everything throughout to then load into a Hauptwerk implementation. It's a beast that currently works and does its job, and has given me an insight into audio presentation issues in common with Hauptwerk instrument implementation rather its extension into the realm of virtual reality reproduction.

The experience that it's given me would lead any church implementation to shine . . . but in the meantime perhaps one day we might get together and organise a Battle of The Organs event?

Martin - you're based in the UK and not many hours away on the motorway and we'll happily put you up for the night - if you have any doubt about what I say about speakers, please bring down your best example speaker that you like to use and we'll plug it in to different organ departments and hear the result in comparison. That goes for any Hauptwerk user too . . . I can't be any more public than that . . .

About what I do use - any technology from any manufacturer that is easy to operate, as affordable as it can be, and works effectively with no fuss and capable of top results. The visible boxes are recognisable but the instrument does not use them exclusively.

Best wishes

David P

Postscript: Experience with organs and speakers extends beyond three decades - 1st pipe organ rebuilt 35 years ago, 30 years ago relayed a 5 rank extension pipe instrument 200 yards through cables reproducing through speakers in an 800 seat chapel, with reverse relay to headphones for organist, to suffice during a major pipe organ rebuild. I've been working with organs, and speakers for high quality orchestral accompaniment to firework displays and other events ever since . . .
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