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Amplifiers & Speakers for Our New Quest ...

Speakers, amplifiers, headphones, multi-channel audio, reverb units, mixers, wiring, ...
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dwatson3

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Amplifiers & Speakers for Our New Quest ...

PostWed Nov 24, 2010 6:17 pm

We're about to embark on an interesting project in which our 30 year old Allen (series 300) organ will be reduced to its casework. I'll 'rewire' the existing manuals and pedalboard and add a new manual from ClassOrganWorks. The MIDI interface, 'super' computer are on the design board already. It's the amplification/speaker element that I find difficult to effectively map. Chancel design is very much open at this stage.
The church is not overly large: about 45 metres long x 20 metres wide, with brick walls, and a vaulted wooden ceiling about 18 metres high at the midpoint.

Amplifier(s): Which maufacturers / RMS power rating / multi-channel should I investigate?
Speakers: Which maufacturers / speaker type (ie bipolar?) / (rated power / frequency profile range) are being used in these types of applications? We'll probably work towards 16 points of sound (including 2 sub-woofers).

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Regards,
Dave in London, Ontario, Canada
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mrkniz

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Re: Amplifiers & Speakers for Our New Quest ...

PostMon Nov 29, 2010 9:45 am

Dave,
Check out Emotiva.com for your amplifiers. I'm using the UPA-7 and am very pleased, but I have no way to compare it to other brands. I was looking for "bang for the buck" and I got my 7-channel (125 Watts per channel) amps for $624 on sale. I think you would have to spend 3 or 4 times that amount to get similar quality. They do have a 30-day trial period, but be forewarned, each amp weighs 31.75 Kg.

For speakers, I chose Hsu HC-1, $239. Again, I have no way to compare to other brands. One thing I noticed about these speakers: when hooked them up as simple stereo and listening to a CD, they were immediately involving, i.e., I was immediately caught up in the music, such was the detail! Their website is hsuresearch.com. They also have subwoofers and a mid bass unit. One interesting thing is that when I placed my order I got a very friendly phone call from Dr. Hsu himself--wanted to know about my project, and if I wanted him to turn the tweeters 90 degrees for use in the upright position.

For those of us who are building organs for our church, how do we assess various components? If I remember correctly, I found the Emotiva on my own, but shortly thereafter I read on this forum that someone was very pleased with his; and I read about an organ builder on this forum in York, PA who used the Hsu speakers in a hybrid organ. (For more details, type Emotiva and Hsu in the forum seach engine.)

My one reservation about the Hsu speakers is in the bass. They're rated down to 60 hz., whereas Definite Technology 450 Studio Monitors are rated down to 25 hz. which could be better for 16' manual stops. However, you can route the lower pitches to your sub through the Hauptwerk software.

As far as my organ project is concerned, I just this weekend got it to work. Using only the St. Anne's for the moment, and only 7 channels (eventually 27). I played a couple of hymns after church yesterday for the priest and a couple of other people. They were bowled over! I was elated!

I'm surprised other people haven't responded to your post. There's no one perfect way. That's part of the beauty of Hauptwerk. Hope this helps. Ken
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dwatson3

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Re: Amplifiers & Speakers for Our New Quest ...

PostMon Nov 29, 2010 11:42 am

Thanks, Ken - you made my day.
I was beginning to think that I was getting over my head in this. There is much in your post to get me moving in the right direction.
Strange as it seems, the actual 'organ' rebuild and computer hardware + I/O have been relatively easy to work through. It's this final stage that seems to be in need of much extra study. Your efforts are appreciated.

Cheers,
Dave
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psuorganguy

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Re: Amplifiers & Speakers for Our New Quest ...

PostMon Nov 29, 2010 1:03 pm

Dave,

I am at the end of such a project myself although it is a little more involved in some respects. I would agree with Ken that multi-channel amps are the way to go. You can get the same number of channels in a lot less rack space and typically save some money. If you have time to search for the amps I would recommend the Rane MA-6 or MA-6s. They are 6 channel amps at 100 watts/channel at 8 ohms. Now, they aren't being produced anymore, but that means that you can find them at GREAT prices. I needed 3 for my church instrument. I found one on ebay for about $260 and the other two I found on craigslist for $150/amp!! Talk about savings.

As for the speakers, if you are willing to build your own, you can save some money and end up with fantastic speakers to boot. These particular speakers are extremely efficient and have a sound that is incredibly real. When I tested my first pair, I was amazed at how something so simple could sound so good! If you want more information on these speakers, send me a PM.

If you are willing to build your own subwoofers, the Tuba HT sub by Bill Fitzmaurice is great. Again, they are extremely efficient and can easily cover the low pedal tones. These things put out tons of power! If you or someone in your church is fairly proficient at woodworking, these would be a viable solution. Whatever you do, make sure that your pedal stops are covered for the full range of frequecies. If you only send your pedal stops to a sub, you won't get any of the pedal harmonics and all the notes will sound the same.

Keep us updated on your project and share some pictures if you can!
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Eric Sagmuller

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Re: Amplifiers & Speakers for Our New Quest ...

PostMon Nov 29, 2010 7:53 pm

My one reservation about the Hsu speakers is in the bass. They're rated down to 60 hz., whereas Definite Technology 450 Studio Monitors are rated down to 25 hz. which could be better for 16' manual stops. However, you can route the lower pitches to your sub through the Hauptwerk software.

Ken


Definitive's low end specs are way overblown. Here's a review of the SM450's if anyone is interested. You'll have to scroll down a bit as there are a number of reviews.

http://www.theaudiocritic.com/back_issu ... c_29_r.pdf

Eric
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engrssc

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Re: Amplifiers & Speakers for Our New Quest ...

PostMon Nov 29, 2010 9:37 pm

This past week we had a chance to mount the speakers for our new (church) organ installation. The console is still under construction and won't be finished until sometime after the holidays. In the meantime, we will still be using the existing Rodgers.

While I know for sure the H/W organ will sound and function light years ahead of the Rodgers, we all (organists and others) were very impressed by a little "to do trick" mentioned by Leo Chris.That being to reverse the speakers. In other words, face them toward (in our case) an alcove wall away from the main seating area.

What a difference in the sound of the Rodgers, everything else being the same as before ie; amps, speakers, etc. We are using the original Rodgers speakers (but in addition mounted the new ones for the upcoming instrument. Merely turning the speakers around did wonders and really improved the of the Rodgers. It now sounds a great deal fuller like never before. Our main organist practiced on Sunday afternoon and had to call me after an hour or so of practice. She never heard the old Rodgers sound that good and she's been playing it for a good number of years. :shock:

So if at all possible, try to incorporate that little trick. We installed "fake" wood back sides for all the speakers (and stained them all the same colour) so they all match. Really worth the slightly extra effort irregardless of which speakers you use. :)

Rgds,
Ed
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phillyorganist

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Re: Amplifiers & Speakers for Our New Quest ...

PostWed Dec 01, 2010 5:46 pm

I too bought an Emovita and love it. 7 channels. Also got Def Tech monitors and a Supercube II. they're inctreidble. Got the Emotiva on audiogon for about $500 brand new (2nd hand, never used) and you can find Def Tech monitors for $500/pair on Ebay if you watch. also got the Supercube on Ebay.

I went to a Hauptwerk setup in Frenchtown NJ where the owner had it in his vaulted ceiling business conference room. 16 Def Techs, 2 subs. Incredible sound.
Jim
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ten87

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Re: Amplifiers & Speakers for Our New Quest ...

PostWed Dec 01, 2010 11:56 pm

mrkniz wrote:I read about an organ builder on this forum in York, PA who used the Hsu speakers in a hybrid organ. (For more details, type Emotiva and Hsu in the forum seach engine.)


That would be me. :) I have 18 of them up and running and am pleased with them. The only thing they don't do well is powerful reeds like the Trumpet en Chamade and Tuba Mirabilis of the Mt. Carmel Skinner set. They just can't handle that kind of output in a church sanctuary, but would probably be ok in a living room situation. I am temporarily running those samples through some pro audio speakers, but will be building some other high power horn speakers to handle these voices after I get more of the real pipes online in the next few months. I will be building 8 of the Jack 110 speakers from http://www.billfitzmaurice.com/

mrkniz wrote:My one reservation about the Hsu speakers is in the bass. They're rated down to 60 hz., whereas Definite Technology 450 Studio Monitors are rated down to 25 hz. which could be better for 16' manual stops. However, you can route the lower pitches to your sub through the Hauptwerk software.


I am currently running one manual 16' stop through the Hsu speakers (the 16' Waldhorn in the Skinner set) with no problems. This is temporary, as the Swell will eventually be all pipes, but the Hsu speakers seem to do alright with a 16' manual reed. All other 16' stops go through a full range speaker system with subs.

As for amps, I am using SLA-2 and SLA-4 amps from http://www.artproaudio.com I am very pleased with their performance. They have balanced inputs, which is essential for an installation like mine.

Terry

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